Discuss: Through a feminist lens


Ibis3 will be our curator for an examination of news, media, arts, culture, politics, social media & the internet, women’s issues, and everyday life through a feminist lens.

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  1. Saad says

    Cosby case will move forward; request for dismissal rejected

    Bill Cosby took a big legal hit today with a Pennsylvania judge refusing to toss out criminal charges against the much accused actor stemming from an alleged 2004 sexual assault.

    After an opening day on Tuesday that mostly saw a former District Attorney on the stand detailing the self described binding decision he made a decade ago not to prosecute Bill Cosby, the comedian was back in court early Wednesday. Accused by over 50 women of sexually assaulting them over the years, The Cosby Show actor and his lawyers were in Norristown, PA trying to get the only criminal charges actually ever filed against him dismissed based on the verbal immunity determination Bruce Castor granted in 2005.

    “It was a secret agreement that permits a wealthy defendant to buy his way out of a criminal case,” said current Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele today, urging the judge to ignore Castor’s actions and let the criminal matter go forward. “There is no legal authority allowing a District Attorney to unilaterally confer transactional immunity on a defendant,” Steele added. “A promise is a promise,” asserted Cosby attorney Christopher Tayback in response. “The current District Attorney is trying to get out from underneath that promise,” the L.A.-based lawyer told the court. Calling the deal “revisionist history,” Steel said later in the day that Castor’s “credibility is out the window at this point.”

  2. says

    CDC advises all women to avoid drinking in case they become pregnant

    The US-based Centres for Disease and Control (CDC)’s latest advice, on drinking during pregnancy, has been ridiculed online for broadening the warning out to millions of American women who are not pregnant.

    Scientists differ on how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, so health authorities tend to recommend not having any at all. The CDC took the same approach, which could be called “better safe than sorry”.

    But their guidance went a step further, to say that sexually-active women of childbearing age should stop drinking if they were not using contraception. This was in case they got pregnant accidentally.

    “Why take the risk?” it said, adding that “more than three million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy”.

    I guess blogs and twitter are already having a field day with this. The article says something about complaints about this advice reducing women to an incubator. I wanted to go a little broader here. If we relate this back to movements to grant “personhood” to fetuses and other anti-abortion claims: does it seem like both our civil institutions and politicians at large are moving in a direction that reduces the status of a woman from a fully fledged person to a mere function of what she can do, presumably for men, (i.g. bear his offspring).

    To me this seemed like a part of a larger political current that is reducing women not quite back to their designation as property of their husbands or fathers, but at least to the point where they’re no longer full persons. ‘All women are free and capable persons, unless you’re of breeding age. In which case, hooo Nelly, do we have some regulations and requirements for you!’

  3. says

    Brian Radovich
    It’s even worse. It lists “violence”, “STDs” and “unwanted pregnancies” as negative consequences of drinking.
    I guess you’D call it progress: Before we blamed alcohol for the horrible things men did to women when men were drunk. Now we blame women drinking alcohol for the horrible things men do to us when we are drunk.
    Victim blaming in pure, distilled form.

  4. freemage says

    In an effort to not just decide the world needs to be culled, I’ve started watching non-feminist media with an eye specifically looking for feminist influences. A couple easy examples would be the evolution of the Disney Princess or Star Wars VII. No, they aren’t ‘feminist advocacy’ pieces, but both Frozen and Ep. 7 show a clear recognition that the audience is more willing to accept non-stereotyped roles from producers.

    I found a less obvious example in my archive-dive of American Horror Story. Horror has an appalling record, as a genre, of dealing with women. Between rape metaphors, literal rape, the demonization of feminine sexuality and a reliance on pregnancy/body-horror, the genre tropes are just full of squick. And in full honesty, AHS goes to those same wells a bit too often to be fully comfortable with it.

    But… on another level, the series represents a major triumph. After the execrable (IMNSHO) first season, the series producers began tapping some major Hollywood talent–and most notably, older actresses, the sorts who normally get shoved into the ‘grandmother’ roles, if they can get work at all. And then it has their interactions be intense and personal in ways that have nothing to do with Teh Menz. In short, it’s a Bechdel-Wallace Test triumph. That’s heartening, in part because it can lead to more women having more influence in Hollywood overall, which in turn would help undermine some of those horrid tropes.

  5. fal1 says

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-are-those-rushing-to-condemn-muslim-men-so-silent-on-roosh-v-and-the-global-oppression-of-women-a6853971.html

    I thought this was a very good article. I hadn’t heard of this Roosh V character until recently. He really is an odious character, I’m genuinely surprised he seems to have a following and has been selling a fair number of books. The author (Sunny Hundal) also raises some very good points about the treatment of women in places like China and India and the general lack of interest in it, despite the current climate of various groups of men jumping to defend women against muslim men/culture. I think part of this can be due to occurring closer to home, but it definitely made me question my own views and raised my self awareness a notch or two.

  6. Saad says

    Holy shit, their press release on the topic is even worse than that:

    Sexually active women who stop using birth control should stop drinking alcohol, but most keep drinking

    Source: CDC Newsroom

    What… the… fuck…

    Not even implying it anymore with a little infographic or with words like “increased risk” or “can cause”. They’re just straight up saying it.

    I was hoping I had stumbled onto the Onion’s website instead, what with the green color theme.

  7. Lady Mondegreen says

    @freemage

    I found a less obvious example in my archive-dive of American Horror Story. Horror has an appalling record, as a genre, of dealing with women.

    My impression is that horror is actually more likely than other genres to feature (strong and resourceful) female protagonists. Sexism is there, all right–where isn’t it?–but there’s a pretty strong counter-current that people tend to overlook.

    I think rape and body-horror are fair game for horror–because it’s horror, and rape is horrible–as long as it isn’t just women being threatened. Don’t use us as helpless, passive victimsn

  8. says

    @fal1 #7
    I was actually debating whether or not to bring in Roosh V, but decided against it because it provoked such a visceral reaction from my first reading of it. Interestingly, this is the same guy who had to write “Don’t Bang Denmark”, as part of his PUA “Bang (country)” series. So, I kind of see him more as a laughable character now, rather than a serious contender for an audience. The clandestine nature of his meetings and how much protest he’s inspiring seems to me to be more of a publicity stunt than anything.

    On the other hand, he is part of the Indian Diaspora, and given the sorts of conversations mainland India is having about these very issues, maybe his stance isn’t surprising? Feminism hasn’t really made much progress into rural parts of India, or even the urban parts. Sometimes it feels like I’m watching 1st and 2nd wave ideas being exported to other parts of the world. It doesn’t make it less repulsive, but it does give it a context. Combined with him being a showman, I’m guessing he has a new book coming out. It does lend support to the argument that we live with a “culture of rape” when you consider he actually has an audience.

    @freemage #5
    You know, the first time I actually the first Evil Dead was with a female friend of mine who specifically wanted me to see it with her. She even pointed out the tree-root rape scene to me as one of her favorites, and commented “Oh yeah, that’s why you don’t go wandering in the forest after dark, B#%$#!” It was an interesting experience. Horror is just an altogether weird genre for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that didn’t fail the Bechdel test, but women are victims, protagonists, and antagonists in equal measure I think. You get moments of seemingly empowering feminism, and then you see tropes like “women in refrigerators”, or “femme fatale”. They’re very much the same as superhero movies in my thinking. It’s all a weird normative reinforcing/twisting experience for me.

    I kinda wanted to bring up the Skepchick article on Hillary Clinton in this thread, but I really can’t decide if that fits more feminism or politics discussion. My argument in support of the author was something like moving from Newton’s “standing on the shoulders of giants” trope to grinding those giants, (like Ida Wells), under your high heel while you climb to the top over them. I’ll let somebody else bring that up for discussion if they feel it merits inclusion. As a white male feminist, I’m probably part of the most privileged group, so it always feels weird bringing up ideas that feminism should be broader than just supporting women in one or two arenas.

  9. azpaul3 says

    There is a meme that’s been around for a number of years related to the abortion debate that nearly half of human conceptus are spontaneously aborted (generally due to genetic defect) with the woman never knowing she had conceived and aborted. I do not know how true that is but as I understand there is some science behind it.

    In this discussion, what that means is that the other half of the conceptus continue viability while the woman still is unaware.

    Most people, I can imagine, understand what too much alcohol can do to a developing fetus. I can imagine there are a lot of women in this population of 320 + million that do not know. I see the CDC’s recommendation (note: recommendation, not policy, not restriction, not regulation) as being information for women to consider in deciding where when and how much to consume.

    The choice of where when and how much to consume is an individual choice. But that choice is best made by an informed person in possession of the facts. This CDC recommendation is another data point to enter into that decision matrix.

    To use this recommendation as an excuse to rant on about misogyny, MRA trash, victim blaming and so on is just fine as long as it is understood that this is just a rather weak excuse to vent bile. The CDC recommendation has nothing to do with any attempt to subjugate women but, instead, to give women the kind of information needed to make intelligent informed decisions.

  10. microraptor says

    Brian Randovic @10:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that didn’t fail the Bechdel test, but women are victims, protagonists, and antagonists in equal measure I think.

    While it’s true that horror films typically have a wide range of female characters, if you examine it a little closer it gets a little worse. Specifically, female sexuality has always had a big role in which category a given female character ends up in: villains are usually either hypersexual seductresses or some sort of grotesque monstrocity. A girl who wants to get it on with her boyfriend might as well have “BAIT” tattooed to her forehead. In order to be the protagonist, a woman has to be pure and virginal.

  11. F.O. says

    @azpaul #11: I thought the same as you initially, then I read TFA…
    Giliell’s comment #4 explains it better.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Giliell #1 + Radovich #3 =

    ATLANTA. CDC and the Financial Planning Association today released a joint statement calling on all males over the age of 11 to cease having sex with females over the age of 11 but under the age of 60 if those females live in a community with access to alcohol.

    Relying on a combination of epidemiological science, actuarial research, and financial predictions constructed by Certified Financial Planners, the two groups based the current recommendation on the dramatically increased costs to working fathers when a child with disabilities is born to that father and the fact that after sex. Embryological development specialist Jacques Trappe explained, “Sperm do not have the ability to notify a female human when it has successfully implanted in an egg. While development of the embryo after implantation will eventually cause physiological changes obvious to the pregnant female, the truth is that it is terribly easy to go many weeks without becoming aware of one’s own pregnancy. These weeks include weeks of high embryonic vulnerability to alcohol. As a result, a pregnant female who lives in a community with access to alcohol may consume that alcohol unaware of any risks being imposed on the blastocyst or embryo.” Given the inability to control the consumption of alcohol by another person who lives in a community with access to it, the joint warning message argues, it is best for males who are not absolutely certain of their own infertility to simply avoid sex where there is any possibility that one’s sex partner is a fertile female.

    Experts from the Financial Planners Association contributed research establishing that while raising any child in the contemporary United States will cost a few hundred thousand dollars by the time the child turns 18, the costs of raising a child with serious, alcohol induced disabilities can run into the millions. The FPA released a statement with the warning partially explaining why it had not come earlier. The statement read, in part, “Although some men have, in the past, considered the risk worth taking, this has largely been based on the reduced rate of university attendance for children with alcohol-related disabilities dating to this period of early development. This depended in part on projections using the extreme level of inflation in tuition and other educational costs. However, the costs of raising a child with disabilities are now sufficiently clear that we can state unequivocally that the risk of incurring these costs are not sufficiently offset by skyrocketing costs of higher education, and, in any case, that level of inflation is already causing policy discussions on governmental intervention. Having less intellectually capable children may not have as many advantages in the future as it has in the past.”

    While the new recommendation finally settles the question of how males should best to respond to a society in which women are permitted to drink alcohol without first getting permission from a man or men, not every man appears to find CDC/FPA statement useful. “Bob & I have been fucking for 21 years without worrying about the financial risks of pregnancy,” stated Max Heart. “Personally, given the financial possibilities, I don’t see why any male would have sex with a female.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  13. azpaul3 says

    #13 F.O.

    Demonstrable facts are that people who drink too much often do make poor decisions.
    — Don’t go to bed with this strange guy. He may be diseased.
    — Don’t go to bed with him. I’m not protected.
    — The CDC’s graphic warns that too much drink can lead to poor decisions.

    Is the CDC saying that a woman who drinks is at fault if she is violently raped? No.
    — Many men, drunk or sober, are violent toward women. That is fact.
    — Women need to be on guard and exercise their better judgement to spot and avoid creeps. That is fact.
    — Too much drink can put a woman in a violent situation not of her own making. That is fact.
    — The CDC’s graphic warns women that too much drink can lead to injuries/violence. That is fact.

    I see nowhere in the CDC’s display of facts where blame is being assigned the victim. These are facts on the ground that women need to know. There are a lot of women, especially young women, who do not see the dangers of over consumption of alcohol. They need to know.

    Is it blaming the potential crash victim to recommend defensive driving?

  14. F.O. says

    @azpaul3:

    Don’t go to bed with this strange guy. He may be diseased.
    Don’t go to bed with him. I’m not protected.

    So it’s her responsibility but not his? Did the CDC warn fertile men against drinking?

  15. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Apparently Roosh has cancelled his upcoming events due to receiving threats. Police came to his mom’s house to take a report. He lives in her basement.

    A few comments about this:

    1) I trust that he actually received threats. I wonder if the anti-feminists will stay consistent and insist that he’s really just sending the threats to himself. Is he a professional victim now?

    2) WTF is it with people sending threats of violence to those they disagree with? There seem to be these jackasses in every corner (realizing that some corners are much more highly populated with this shit than others).

    3) Lolololol, the 36-year-old self-proclaimed “King of Masculinity” lives in his mom’s basement. I guess that explains his photos where he has fat stacks of cash; I was rich from Pizza Hut money when I lived at home.

  16. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Further to my #18…

    4) Anyone want to start a pool on how long it will be before Dawkins retweets him?

  17. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @azpaul3:

    I see nowhere in the CDC’s display of facts where blame is being assigned the victim. These are facts on the ground that women need to know.

    did you read what I wrote in #14? Did you understand it?

    Let me clue you in on a little fact of biology: alcohol does not cause pregnancy. Another fact? Nor does orgasm.

    If one person got pregnant, either a female person was raped by a male person, a male person was raped by a female person, a female person knocked over a sperm bank and wielded a turkey baster to procreative effect before being arrested, or at least TWO people are responsible.

    In fact, the common risk scenarios the CDC imagines consistently involve scenarios of two or more actors – they don’t grant the scenario of single-handedly knocking over a sperm bank any epidemiological significance at all!

    SO WHY THE FUCK IS THE WARNING NOT GIVEN TO ALL INVOLVED IN THE EPIDEMIOLOGICALLY RELEVANT SITUATIONS?

    Sure, warn women.

    But why warn ONLY women? Does the CDC have good experimental evidence that sperm have magic powers? Should we presume that evidence exists but the CDC is withholding from publication? Or is the most plausible hypothesis from which to work that the sexism proven to operate in the area of responsibility for sex and pregnancy also operated in the CDC decision to target the warning ONLY to women?

    “Conspiracy theory” isn’t my null hypothesis.

  18. F.O. says

    @Golgafrinchan Captain #18
    Agree 100% for 1) & 2).
    I think we tend to identify with our ideas, and if someone threatens them, we feel personally threatened.
    3) Meh. Whatevs. I have been in the PUA community, and left because none of them was anything I wanted to be or be seen with. (Ethical concerns unfortunately came a lot later).

  19. azpaul3 says

    #20 Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Your Eminence,

    But why warn ONLY women?

    Maybe because the subject was women and alcohol?

    Why would you want to keep this information away from women?

  20. says

    azpaul
    Where do I even start? You’re so fractually wrong it’s hard to decide

    Most people, I can imagine, understand what too much alcohol can do to a developing fetus. I can imagine there are a lot of women in this population of 320 + million that do not know. I see the CDC’s recommendation (note: recommendation, not policy, not restriction, not regulation) as being information for women to consider in deciding where when and how much to consume.

    Wrong.
    The CDC’s sheet does not say “if you intend getting pregnant it’s better you stop drinking and smoking and start taking folic acid.” It completely erases her from the image and totally focusses on a potential fetus which might sneak in there all by itself.
    Given the fact that most people who can conceive already use contraceptions and most abortions are demanded by people who used contraception , the whole thing boils down to “people who can get pregnant must not drink alcohol because there might be an embryo”. Welcome to Saudi Arabia.

    The choice of where when and how much to consume is an individual choice. But that choice is best made by an informed person in possession of the facts. This CDC recommendation is another data point to enter into that decision matrix.

    There are rather few facts in that sheet. It is not a “data point”, it is a clear attempt to coerce women into a certain behaviour or at least to squarely lay the blame at their feet in case anything goes wrong.

    Demonstrable facts are that people who drink too much often do make poor decisions.
    — Don’t go to bed with this strange guy. He may be diseased.
    — Don’t go to bed with him. I’m not protected.
    — The CDC’s graphic warns that too much drink can lead to poor decisions.

    Wrong, wrong and wrong again.
    The CDC sheet does not say “please be aware that alcohol lowers inhibitions and may lead to poor decisions. It lists violence, STDs and unintended pregnancies as consequences of alcohol consumption for women.
    None of this is a consequence of alcohol consumption. Puking, falling over, having a serious hangover are consequences of drinking too much. Violence is a result of somebody deciding to be violent*. You don’t get pregnant just by being drunk. You get pregnant because somebody inserted their penis and released their sperm.

    Is the CDC saying that a woman who drinks is at fault if she is violently raped?

    Of course it does. Do I have to explain again? By listing violence as a consequence of drinking it draws a clear line. Look at the medical risks of drinking alcohol and ask yourself the question: A consequence of drinking while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome. Who’s to blame? A risk of drinking while female is being the victim of violence. Who’s to blame?

    — Too much drink can put a woman in a violent situation not of her own making. That is fact.

    That is bullshit. How does the drinking put you in a violent situation and how is it not of her making if her behaviour is the reason she’s in there?

    Let me tell you a story: Many years ago a young woman, a teenager was away at a camp for a weekend. She drank a hell lot of beer. This was in Bavaria where they have those 1l beer kegs which means that either most of your beer will go stale or you drink it way too fast. Then she decided that trying Marihuana would be a cool idea. She was then so hammered she couldn’t walk straight. Her friends, all guys, tried to get her to her tent, but she was sick on the way and insisted to take a shower. The guys took her to the shower, helped her to undress, helped her to shower. She blacks out somewhere in that shower. The next morning she wakes up with a terrible headache. She’s in her PJs, in her sleeping bag. Totally not beaten up, totally not raped, totally not pregnant, totally not having an STI. Tell me, what was the deciding factor in the outcome of this?

    You keep talking about facts that are not facts at all because they rely on a non-sequitur that those negative consequences are the rsult of her drinking and not of somebody else doing something to her. It reinforces victim blaming, especially when it comes to sexual violence.
    Alcohol is the rape drug #1. It’s easy to access outside of Utah and some places in the Middle East**. It is also easy to make a victim drink more than she intended, by refilling her glass, using social pressure and the rules of politeness to their advantage (imagine a woman telling a guy “stop refilling my glass. I’m afraid that somebody here will rape me if I get drunk!”) or by simply handing her drinks that are much stronger than what she wanted to drink, or by adding more drugs that are hard to find in the bloodstream when the alcohol may still be present. Rapists know all these things and deliberately use them. Now the CDC decided to help them a little on their way.

    *oh, and let’s talk about this “alcohol is to blame thing”: Yes, alcohol lowers your inhibitions. It doesn’t change who you are. People are not totally peaceful and then become violent at 1.0 0/00. People who think that violence is permissible under certain circumstances make different calls when drunk then when sober.

    **Should be a paradise for women there, right? No alcohol at all, nobody will ever beat them, rape them or make them carry an unwanted pregnancy to term

  21. azpaul3 says

    #25 – Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Given the fact that most people who can conceive already use contraceptions and most abortions are demanded by people who used contraception , the whole thing boils down to “people who can get pregnant must not drink alcohol because there might be an embryo”. Welcome to Saudi Arabia.

    From CDC: It is recommended that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol at all.

    Notice the CDC’s wording: “who are pregnant or might be pregnant”. It does NOT say, ” who can get pregnant” which you interpret as meaning all women, contraceptive or not. The not-so-subtle difference escapes you? Welcome to the real world.

    It is not a “data point”, it is a clear attempt to coerce women into a certain behaviour or at least to squarely lay the blame at their feet in case anything goes wrong.

    I see no such “blame” language in the CDC piece. I do see the advisory that too much drink CAN have unintended consequences. Do you deny the connections? Do you deny that excess alcohol consumption CAN lead people to make poor decisions?

    The CDC sheet does not say “please be aware that alcohol lowers inhibitions and may lead to poor decisions.

    Did they really have to spell that out? Again, do you deny that excess alcohol consumption CAN lead people to make poor decisions?

    It lists violence, STDs and unintended pregnancies as consequences of alcohol consumption for women.

    It does no such thing. The CDC states that too much can have risks. They even define what “too much” means. They DO NOT say alcohol consumption causes pregnancy or STDs or violence. They DO SAY that consuming too much CAN present risks that women should be aware of. Again, the not-so-subtle difference escapes you? Are you purposely misrepresenting the CDC position?

    A consequence of drinking while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome. Who’s to blame?

    The drinking mom.

    A risk of drinking while female is being the victim of violence. Who’s to blame?

    You already know the answer to that.

    Your quote, “Violence is a result of somebody deciding to be violent*.” For the most part that decision IS NOT the woman’s. She is the victim, here. Understood?

    And you are the one juxtaposing these two very different events and claiming the “blame” in the former attaches “blame” in the latter. You really are twisting the article to suit your own bias.

    How does the drinking put you in a violent situation and how is it not of her making if her behaviour is the reason she’s in there?

    Sheesh! The same way a good defensive driver can get caught up in an accident anyway. Unless you want to consider driving a car as provocative culpability, which is stupid, it is NOT of her own making!

    Let me tell you a story:

    Nice anecdote. In this context it means nothing. No one is saying drinking must cause rape, violence or sex despite your seeming need for the contrary to make a weak point of bias where none exists.

    Why the subterfuge? Can’t find enough bias you have to make it up? There are real women in real dangers because of sexism and misogyny. Those real and present dangers need to be exposed and hounded out of society. The CDC’s article is not one of them.

    The CDC article is a health warning to women who are or may be pregnant to avoid alcohol. It then goes on to address the over consumption of alcohol and the potential risks to a woman’s health and well-being that MAY, not must, occur. We should expect this of the CDC. Not just women/alcohol but men/alcohol, lead/babies, vaccination/non-vaccination, etc. It’s their job.

  22. says

    azpaul

    Notice the CDC’s wording: “who are pregnant or might be pregnant”. It does NOT say, ” who can get pregnant” which you interpret as meaning all women, contraceptive or not. The not-so-subtle difference escapes you?

    Oh, look, somebody who’s completely ignorant on reproductive biology. Fun fact: I might be pregnant right now. I won’t find out until my next period. Hopefully. I also know women who kept having their periods and only found out when they were three months along. “Might be pregnant”= Every fertile person who had a dick near their vagina.

    I do see the advisory that too much drink CAN have unintended consequences. Do you deny the connections? Do you deny that excess alcohol consumption CAN lead people to make poor decisions?

    Being the victim of violence is NOT the result of making poor decisions while drunk. Being a victim of sexual violence is not a result of making a poor decision while drunk

    Did they really have to spell that out?

    If that were the all important message they wanted to get across they’d damn better should. That’s “writing 101”. And of course, that information would be important for people of all genders, not just women.

    A consequence of drinking while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome. Who’s to blame?

    The drinking mom.

    A risk of drinking while female is being the victim of violence. Who’s to blame?

    You already know the answer to that.

    Funny, since the claim is the exact same structure as the one above, the drinking woman must be the answer here as well.

    It does no such thing. The CDC states that too much can have risks. They even define what “too much” means. They DO NOT say alcohol consumption causes pregnancy or STDs or violence. They DO SAY that consuming too much CAN present risks that women should be aware of. Again, the not-so-subtle difference escapes you? Are you purposely misrepresenting the CDC position?

    Nope.
    The CDC sheet makes a connection between things that are not connected. Being drunk does not put you at risk of these. If I drown a bottle of whiskey now and go to bed, would this put me at risk of violence, STDs and unwanted pregnancies? It would clearly be too much alcohol…

    The same way a good defensive driver can get caught up in an accident anyway. Unless you want to consider driving a car as provocative culpability, which is stupid, it is NOT of her own making!

    It always comes to the point where my body is compared to a house or a car or a latop…
    Here’S a small thing you might want to learn: road accidents happen. Sexual violence accidents don’t happen. Rape does not happen because somebody makes a mistake. Violence does not happen because somebody makes a mistake.

    No one is saying drinking must cause rape, violence or sex despite your seeming need for the contrary to make a weak point of bias where none exists.

    If there’s no causal relationship, how come this puts you at risk?

    There are real women in real dangers because of sexism and misogyny.

    And you know who puts them at risk? People like you who spend their time policing women’s behaviour so they stay “safe” instead of doing something about the people who violate them.

  23. azpaul3 says

    My statement:

    A consequence of drinking while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome. Who’s to blame?

    The drinking mom.

    A risk of drinking while female is being the victim of violence. Who’s to blame?

    You already know the answer to that.
    Your quote, “Violence is a result of somebody deciding to be violent*.” For the most part that decision IS NOT the woman’s. She is the victim, here. Understood?
    And you are the one juxtaposing these two very different events and claiming the “blame” in the former attaches “blame” in the latter. You really are twisting the article to suit your own bias.

    Your response:

    Funny, since the claim is the exact same structure as the one above, the drinking woman must be the answer here as well.

    Well, if you want to twist reality to find a non-existent boogieman under the bed then so be it.

    And you know who puts them at risk? People like you who spend their time policing women’s behaviour so they stay “safe” …

    That you would see a health advisory as policing behavior is telling. You really can’t tell the difference, can you.

    … instead of doing something about the people who violate them.

    So let’s do something about the people who violate other people and quite wasting time gnashing teeth trying to make the CDC look like a hot bed of radical sexism for issuing an honest health recommendation.

  24. Tethys says

    azpaul

    make the CDC look like a hot bed of radical sexism

    No, it’s yet another instance of common, everyday sexism. Issuing a condescending health recommendation that blames alcohol for the violence that men commonly commit against women is not at all helpful to your target audience. If they had a whole section on short skirts and revealing tops being dangerous clothing that might result in rape or violence or unwanted pregnancy, would you see the problem? Violent men are not a force of nature. Neither are rapists. Blaming alcohol for these things, and then telling women it is their responsibility to avoid the alcohol is sexist, insulting, and the CDC clearly needs some women on staff.

  25. Tethys says

    I hope so Giliell. I am growing increasingly frustrated with the way peoples brains rationalize the various ways that sexism is built in to our cultures. Especially when the subject involves rape. It’s like they automatically must change the subject to anything but the rape and victims. Alcohol! Skirts! STEM is better than the humanities! smh

  26. says

    Tethys
    But don’t forget, it’s for our own protection!
    I mean, we really need it if we didn’t know that any amount of alcohol under 21 puts us at risk of an unintended pregnancy (how did I manage not to get knocked up?). Or that having two beers every evening would put us at risk of an STD (I’m wondering: how does the STD know I have those two beers every evening, which puts me at risk, and not just on a Friday evening, which is apparently safe?)?

  27. Saad says

    Maybe azpaul3 missed this straight from the CDC:

    Sexually active women who stop using birth control should stop drinking alcohol

    Yup, not sexist at all.

  28. azpaul3 says

    One of the many things I learned a long time ago in other struggles against bias and bigotry is that since I am not in that number I can never know the depth of feeling caused by that bias or recognize all the nuanced signs of that bigotry.

    A wise old sage once advised that, in situations like this, the best course of action is to just shut the fuck up, listen and learn.

    I need to follow that advice.

    Thank you for the spirited discussion.

  29. azpaul3 says

    OK, so this violates the shut the fuck up part, but is essential to the listen and learn parts.

    Maybe azpaul3 missed this straight from the CDC:

    Sexually active women who stop using birth control should stop drinking alcohol

    Yup, not sexist at all.

    How is this statement sexist? What makes it sexist?

    How would the CDC have presented this advise to avoid the “sexist” tag?

  30. logicalcat says

    Can I have some thoughts and opinions on a gaming video I just recently saw?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpUs8oNjuV8

    In particular, do women have slower reflexes than men? I tried googling it, but most of the articles are behind paywalls especially with meta studies. In the video he says that this is backed by decades worth of study, and yet provides no sources. I know the video is a year old but I’ve just recently have seen it.

  31. Tethys says

    azpaul

    How is this statement sexist? What makes it sexist?

    It is sexist because it reinforces the sexist notion that contraception and responsibility for human reproduction is on the women, but completely omits mentioning that the vector of pregnancy, drunken violence, STI’s, and rape is not alcohol, the vector is men. Correlation is not causation, as every single CDC scientist should know. Would you be offended if the CDC put out a health warning to men that they should avoid drinking alcohol lest they impregnate, infect, abuse, or rape women? It would be a completely factual health warning.

  32. azpaul3 says

    #36 Tethys

    Would you be offended if the CDC put out a health warning to men that they should avoid drinking alcohol lest they impregnate, infect, abuse, or rape women?

    As far as rape and abuse, since a majority of men do not do these things such a suggestion would be inappropriate, imho. And I can see the women’s point of tying their alcohol consumption to these things being inappropriate as well especially since they are the victim of these things not the perpetrators.

    But what I am having trouble understanding is the CDC’s advice to women against mixing alcohol and fetus being seen as sexist.

    Sexually active women who stop using birth control should stop drinking alcohol

    Why is this sexist and how could that sexism have been avoided in their advisory?

  33. says

    @azpaul
    Maybe I can help (I’ll happily take criticism if I make a mistake anywhere).

    Their interpretation is reasonable. Even when an authority is not singling out a group to take responsibility it is important to define that group appropriately and avoid suggestive or emotionally pressuring language when it comes to social justice concerns. You seem to be unintentionally ignoring the specific wording, context of the information and the fact that excessive social pressure on women and female people is a prime concern here so maybe a couple of analogies will help.

    I have read several articles that talk about what advocates for people who have been sexually assaulted do to help with respect to our shitty justice system and helping the victim make choices. The advocates don’t tell them what to do, all they do is to provide the information without any suggestive or emotional pressure of any kind in any direction. This is done for many reasons but one reason is to give them the power that they have been denied and help counteract the way that social messages collectively take power and choice away from people who have been sexually assaulted (instead of focusing on the predators in our midst).
    These CDC guidelines don’t just give people information, they actively suggest what women should do and create emotional pressure via the way they are worded. Wording that deliberately omits steps that include other people taking actions with responsibility of their own. Things like “women who might be pregnant” goes beyond simple information and enters the realm of social mores because of the chance that any woman might get pregnant when going out and enjoying themselves. The authoritarian parts of society love to obsess and overemphasize the tiny numbers in order to control the whole (for example
    the tiny number of instances of voter fraud and their use in justifying bad regulations?) Remember the situation with Dawkins and women carrying fetuses with Downs Syndrome? Same problem. Instead of taking a position that only gave information he was taking a position that added to social pressure that controls what female people do with their bodies.
    No one is denying the connections, they are emphasizing the manner and context of how they connections are portrayed.

    Here they are explicitly trying to place responsibility on all women, women who may or may not be trying to get pregnant “just in case”. This seems to me to be no different from telling women they should not dress “’too suggestively’, just in case” because something bad might happen. Or telling women they should avoid alleys when walking home “just in case”. Rather then addressing our societies problem with confronting abusers, harassers and criminals somehow “violence” and “unintended pregnancy” just happen to become something only women need to worry about as stated in the guidelines and poster.
    Even if the were directing this information to all women that does not change the fact that they could have worded things in a way that included shared responsibility or sole responsibility (like with violence) where appropriate, and does not use a fetus as a mechanism of social control. These things can be offered in a neutral manner when it comes to social pressure and they did not take that path.

    @Crip Dyke 13
    What makes it more damming is that there is data that can lead to social pressure on males who drink and might happen to get someone pregnant.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/histone-epigenetics-1.3263451

  34. Gregory Greenwood says

    Did anyone else hear the BBC Radio 4 interview with the spokeswoman of the Women Against Rape Coalition where she essentially complained at length about how the rape allegation against Julian Assange is supposedly a political hatchet job, thus by implication (if not explicitly) doubting the word of the woman making the allegation? I have found a Guardian opinion piece where their position is expanded, and while I can see the merit in some of what they are saying, they seem very quick to declare, as if it is self evident, that the rape either never happened;

    It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.

    Or perhaps even worse, that it doesn’t matter if he is guilty or not because the whole business is really about the Wikileaks scandal;

    Whether or not Assange is guilty of sexual violence, we do not believe that is why he is being pursued. Once again women’s fury and frustration at the prevalence of rape and other violence, is being used by politicians to advance their own purposes. The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will, usually to increase their powers, this time to facilitate Assange’s extradition or even rendition to the US. That the US has not presented a demand for his extradition at this stage is no guarantee that they won’t do so once he is in Sweden, and that he will not be tortured as Bradley Manning and many others, women and men, have. Women Against Rape cannot ignore this threat.

    (Emphasis added)

    I find it a little troubling that Women Against Rape seem to have no problem assuming that the whole business is just a political frame up, thus implying that rape never happened, and by extension that the woman in question is lying and/or delusional, because the accused party was someone they had political sympathy with. I would have hoped that a group which has to deal with rape apologia every day would not be so quick to start buying into its tropes when confronted with a case they found challenging due to their political beliefs.

    They even sail dangerously close at one point to pulling one of the most classic of all rape apologia lines, and acting as if general public discussion of a case should be performed with the same standards of proof as a legal proceeding;

    The judicial process has been corrupted. On the one hand, the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”. On the other hand, Assange is dealt with by much of the media as if he were guilty, though he has not even been charged. It is not for us to decide whether or not the allegations are true and whether what happened amounts to rape or sexual violence – we don’t have all the facts and what has been said so far has not been tested. But we do know that rape victims’ right to anonymity and defendants’ right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty are both crucial to a just judicial process.

    (Emphasis added)

    While I agree that a court of public opinion can be a dangerous thing, I am not so sure that we should just throw our hands up in the air and say that it is all unknowable so let’s not talk about it. Assange has shown no willingness to stand trial for these allegations. He claims that this is because he fears extradition to the US on unrelated Wikileaks charges, and that may be true, but I do not feel comfortable dismissing or doubting the statements of the woman who has made these allegations because the trial is being prevented through no actions of her own. Assuming Assange’s innocence as a matter of legal protocol should not amount to automatically doubting the word of the woman in question outside the courtroom.

    While I agree completely that the legal system is usually less than enthusiastic in pursuing rapists, and the zeal with which they have gone after Assange could potentially be seen as suspicions in that regard, that does not prove that the claim itself is false. If, and it is still a big if, the case is politically motivated, then we still have no reason to assume that the charge itself is fabricated – the authorities could just as easily have capitalized upon an preexisting accusation for their purposes, which would mean that the woman in question is in absolute earnest in her claim against Assange, and Women Against Rape have just put themselves in the unenviable position of calling for him not to be deported and as such are seeking to deny the due process of law and access to justice for a woman who may well be a victim of sexual crime. That does not seem to the sort of thing a rape survivor advocacy group should be in the business of doing.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  35. nahuati says

    I paid the price, I own your son

    “Dowries, though illegal, are still widespread in India. Two public information films ridiculing the practice aim to address dated attitudes to women.”

    I find the approaches in how cultures are addressing outdated attitudes about women fascinating.

  36. nahuati says

    Clever way Indian fathers are fighting female infanticide:

    Indian Fathers Fight Female Infanticide with Selfies

    “Every year in India, thousands of baby girls are abandoned at birth. While some are rescued, most aren’t, leaving the nation with 7.1 million far fewer girls than boys. So earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came up with a wholly inventive plan: have fathers across the nation take selfies with their daughters, then share them on the internet for the rest of the nation to see.”

  37. chris61 says

    @ 42 Saad

    Shame they didn’t put sexist stuff against men in there for consistency.

    But they did.

  38. Pteryxx says

    Zoë Quinn: Why I Just Dropped Harassment Charges Against the Man Who Started Gamergate

    Ironically, getting a restraining order against Creep Throat was the least effective thing I could do in terms of getting him out of my life for good, and for protecting myself. I’ll discuss the hot mess of problems around that experience at a later time. Without getting into a long, complicated blow by blow, every time something happened or the case was updated, he’d run back to the mob and make promises and jokes and pleas for more money. The mob would respond by going after me, my family, and anyone else they decided was involved. The mythology surrounding me would expand, conspiracy charts would “prove” I am secretly rich and really deserved it all along, and inspire more threats, stalking, and abuse. The cycle repeated itself endlessly. People kept getting hurt for being close to me, for a poorly worded restraining order that did nothing.

    […]

    He gets paid, he gets attention (he even brought a date to court once), and the cycle continues. All the while, shit gets worse and worse for me and my family. The simple fact of the matter is the criminal justice system is meant to punish, not protect. I don’t care about seeing him punished – I would rather he get better. And they’ve done nothing to protect me – it’s only made things worse and become another weapon in his arsenal, and the arsenal of the people out there way scarier than him.

    […]

    Why, then, would I ever want to sign up for more years of my life spent flying back to Boston, a place where it’s not safe for me to be, to continue another chapter in this nightmare? Why would I want to keep digging at a giant scar?

    “Establish legal precedent!” you might think. I did too. Then Elonis v United States offered little hope that a court wouldn’t skirt the issues of how domestic violence manifests online. Then Steph Guthrie and her co-defendant lost their case, the transcripts showing equal parts “she was asking for it” and “how did this get in there i am not good at computers”. Going to court is like rolling the dice, the precedent you established isn’t up to you, and I didn’t want to risk becoming a tool in the next Creep Throat’s arsenal if we lost. I have have worked with enough lawmakers, law enforcement officers, lawyers, and judges at this point through our work with Crash Override to know that education is sorely lagging behind on these issues, not to mention the cultural biases that come with any cases like that.

    […]

    When you seek charges, you’re on trial as much as the other person, if not more. The “asking for it” defense is alive and well even in 2016, and you have to be a “good victim” in order to give your case the best shot it has. “Good victim”, when it comes to women in domestic or gendered violence cases like mine, tends to mean a lot of loaded, even conflicting things. The courts do not favor a lot of women simply for being who they are – women of color, trans women, sex workers, I could go on. Even beyond that, you have to be well behaved and silent about the proceedings, or risk pissing off the judge and giving the defense attorneys ammo to work with. Even my Cracked article was waved around in court by my ex’s lawyers, citing it as “the most disgusting thing that happened during GamerGate” despite my almost one foot stack of threats and photos of me that people had printed out, jizzed on, and sent to my family. The defense, so far, had hung a hat on trying to prove I deserved all of this.

    I have been open about my depression and my history in sex work. I have not gone out of the public eye during all of the abuse, and I don’t regret that. I believe in standing up for sex workers and people living with mental health concerns and anyone else I can, and I don’t know what would have happened if I had kept my mouth shut when I was targeted two years ago. But this comes with a cost – everything I have said and done will be held against me and spun by my abuser. The cost of being who I am in defiance of the abuse was sacrificing being a good victim.

    […]

    I’m scared of posting this, but I’m tired of hiding and keeping my head down and plodding along. I know it’ll kick some shit up, everything does, but I also know he’s going to try to twist this stuff like he always has. I’m tired of letting him control me. I’m tired of being afraid of being honest. I’m tired of watching people hand out “just go to the police they’ll protect you” while I silently scream and bite my tongue, because I know the advice-giver is giving horrible, ignorant advice. It’s so much more complicated than that, and if someone decides to go to the cops about their abuser they should be doing it with a more informed and prepared plan than I ever did. They shouldn’t have to have their lives hijacked for years to find out that that’s what they were even risking in the first place. I wish I had those two years back. The least I can do to make that right is to be honest and open with the world while trying to reduce the cost of maneuvering through these systems. The least I can do is try to succeed at getting my life back where the courts have utterly failed.

    I won’t ever get my life back, but that doesn’t mean I can’t live in the meantime. Hopefully the next girl won’t have years stolen from her in the first place.

  39. nahuati says

    Hisar Women Have Found a Unique Way to Fight Gender Equality. And Their Nameplates Are Changing.

    Sanjana is a B.Sc. third year student in Maharani Lakshmibai College, located in Bhiwani Rohila in Haryana. Very recently, she painted the name of her mother, Bhanwati Devi, above her father’s name on the wall of their house. She wanted the villagers to know that the home belongs to her mother too, because the current practice in Haryana is that only names of male members of households are written or inscribed on nameplates outside homes.

    Sanjana is not alone in her efforts to get villagers to acknowledge the equal status of women. Women in three villages of Hisar district in Haryana, a state known for its skewed ratio of boys to girls, are doing the same — painting their own names alongside those of their husbands, outside their homes.

  40. nahuati says

    Pakistani Comic Team Muhafiz Throws Light On Child Marriage As A Tradition
    The social-issue based Pakistani comic book team deals with a variety of issues including child marriage and acid attacks.

    Team Muhafiz is the first title from the startup Azcorp Entertainment Pakistan, which is the brainchild of Imran Azhar. “Main mandate of the company is to create strong local heroes who represent multi-ethnicity and cross-cultures of Pakistan and to highlight social evils of our society“, says Imran. Team Muhafiz is also created on these principles and was officially launched on August 14, 2015. The comic book has already published two issues and the third one focuses on child marriage plaguing the country in the form of tradition.

    The concept for the third issue was the result of a chartered down social issue which they wanted to highlight and raise awareness to their leaders of tomorrow, for instance the first issue focused on deforestation and the land/timber mafia; the second issue focused on drug/substance issue and the drug Mafia and now the third issue is on child marriage, taking forward the story of the drug mafia on how they operate in Pakistan. Child Marriage, though illegal in Pakistan, is still a norm, especially compensation marriages aka swara/vani and unfortunately accepted by the victims and the public at large at the false pretext of culture and tradition.

    The fourth issue will focus on acid attack and then they plan to launch a polio awareness issue as till today polio workers are being murdered and raped due to many misconceptions and myth which surround this subject, resulting in Pakistan being one of the only three counties left in the world which is still not a polio free territory.

  41. says

    @chris61
    I waited a while to see what would happen, but I don’t see what you are talking about. Perhaps you can show us what is in you head? I’m not denying that there is sexist stuff in there that affects men, but even if there was that would not take anything way from the sexism against women, and link dropping is not a behavior that I reward.
    One of the problems that I see in society is that people who profess to care about men’s issues spend most of their time attacking people addressing women’s issues. If you have a point please make it.

  42. nahuati says

    Women are finding interesting ways to stop violence against women in Egypt.

    In 2011, alongside the Arab Spring and massive citizen protests in Tahrir Square, Egypt’s pervasive problem with violence against women was exposed to the world. Reports of horrifying mob attacks against protesting women, videos exposing the oppressive atmosphere of harassment, and numerous articles by Egyptian women revealing the extent of the problem led the Thomas Reuters Foundation to name Egypt the worst country in the Arab world for women.

    For episode seven of A Woman’s Place, Kassidy Brown and Allison Rapson flew to Cairo to find out what’s being done to end gender-based violence in Egypt. From the creators of the viral video Creepers on a Bridge who used a hidden camera to document street harassment, to the volunteers at HarassMap who map out incidents of sexual harassment and assault across the country, to the organizers of Girls Go Wheels who whip past potential harassers on their scooters, Brown and Rapson discovered Egyptian women are finding creative ways to empower each other and push for change.

    A video at the Yes! site further explains what is being done to address women’s issues in Egypt. Kudos to the women creating the changes and those who created the video!

  43. nahuati says

    Changing attitudes about girls in India through the use of a men’s group

    Mangay Lal, a shoe maker decided to join the Men Care Group, started by World Vision to bring about a change in his community, especially regarding their attitude towards girls and women.

    Mangay Lal knows all too well the flawed conditioning of the mind-set toward girls and women.

    “We have been made to believe by society, that a girl is someone else’s property and will marry and ultimately go to someone else’s house, so why should we invest in educating her, we don’t benefit from it?” says Mangay Lal, a Men Care Group member, glancing at his daughter playing in a corner.

    Deeply rooted in societal norms, a girl’s fate is predetermined, as “Paraya Dhan” (someone else’s property).

    Members of the World Vision supported Men Care Group learn about how gender inequality impacts relationships and about gender-based violence. They are encouraged to take an active part alongside their wives, mothers and sisters in caring for the home. The group progressively supports its members to become empathetic and caregiving.

    “Women’s safety is a deep rooted problem embedded in their patriarchal mould. It is necessary to bring in men’s focus to address gender-based violence. It is important to facilitate the provision of a safe and constructive space for men to reflect on and redefine what it means to be men and fathers to ensure the safety of women and girl children,” says Karoline Davis, Head of Gender and Development, World Vision India.

  44. chris61 says

    @50 Brony

    I’m not denying that there is sexist stuff in there that affects men

    That was my point. The CDC made a fact sheet addressed to men and a fact sheet addressed to women. If you consider that sexist then both sheets are sexist.

  45. Saad says

    chris61, #53

    That was my point. The CDC made a fact sheet addressed to men and a fact sheet addressed to women. If you consider that sexist then both sheets are sexist.

    Oh, you thought the sexist thing about the women’s sheet is that there is a women’s sheet?

    Ha.

  46. Tethys says

    Azpaul #37

    Why is this sexist and how could that sexism have been avoided in their advisory?

    I explained the sexism in my #36. Men cause 100% of pregnancies and are in fact directly responsible for most of the negative effects that are being ascribed to alcohol yet somehow the CDC fails to tell men not to drink between the ages of 21 and sometime in mid-life. Telling women they shouldn’t ever have a drink unless they have an IUD or hormonal birth control is simply patronizing bullshit. It’s just so helpful to be informed by the CDC that people with operational uteri and ovaries should always be aware that they could get pregnant or worse from alcohol, and should therefore abstain from alcohol.

  47. nahuati says

    CaitieCat, Harridan of Social Justice @#54:

    You’re right. That’s an excellent story about Nigeria! It is always good to hear some positive news. The media often seems to focus on the negative stories.

  48. nahuati says

    Good story out of India:
    This Man Offers an Unusual Gift to Women Who Have Just Given Birth to Girls in Rajasthan – Ghee!

    In Rajasthan, a state that is frequently in the news for cases of female foeticide, one man is bringing a lot of happiness to mothers of newborn girls. Every time a baby girl is born in Sumerpur’s Community Health Centre (CHC), 65-year-old Jitendra Kumar Jain gifts the mother a packet of ghee.

    “Not that a kilo of ghee is precious, it is only a token of appreciation for women who are bringing these priceless gems into the world. In these times of skewed sex ratios, it is important to spread joy at the time of birth of daughters,” he said to The Times of India.

    Jitendra is the father of three daughters and has been distributing one-kilo packets of ghee for the past seven months. If he is unable to go to CHC on a particular day, someone from his family ensures that the packets of ghee reach the mothers.

    His family launched Pyari Bitiya Janam Uphaar Yojna on Raksha Bandhan day in 2015. Since then, they have distributed ghee to as many as 158 mothers.

  49. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    Since there’s no Lounge or Thunderdome anymore i thought this might be the most suitable place to bring up this topic. I hope it’s fine.
    Giliell commented this on the “We don’t mean literal trigger warnings” thread:

    But heavens forbid you suggest guys change the side of the road when passing a woman on a lonely road at night. Misandry!!!!!

    I’m always uncomfortable when encountering a lone woman on the street late at night because i feel there’s a good chance she is uncomfortable. I have a habit of walking really quite fast and i often overtake other people in the street walking in the same direction as me. Many years ago i caught up to a young woman and as i aproached her and she heard my rather noisy footsteps she kept looking back at me. After the third time or so that she looked back, i didn’t know how to communicate i was not a threat, so i just slowed way down, put my hands up, smiled and said something to the effect of “sorry, i didn’t mean to startle you”. She smiled back, chuckled nervously, i passed her and that was it. Even when there isn’t such an obvious sign of alarm, i do feel that by its very nature it’s a situation likely to cause some degree of distress to some people and i would like to avoid this. Crossing to the other side seems like a reasonable thing to do, but i was just wondering if there are any other suggestions of what some of you might want others to do to reassure, avoid or at least give any indication of being non-threatening. When crossing in the same street, i move to the furthest part of the pavement, to leave as much distance as possible in between at the moment of crossing and also, in the past i’ve tried, weirdly, as a result of my own discomfort, to convey my non-threatening nature through body language, which no doubt has both made me look weird and hasn’t had the desired effect, possibly the opposite. I thought i’d ask just in case i’m missing something obvious and reasonable.

  50. blf says

    UK company to introduce ‘period policy’ for female staff:

    Bristol firm says letting women take time off during menstrual cycle will make workplace more efficient and creative

    A Bristol company is planning to create an official “period policy” designed to allow women to take time off without being stigmatised in the hope it will make its workplace more efficient and creative.

    Bex Baxter, the director of Coexist, said the move an attempt to synchronise work with the body’s natural cycles.

    “I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.

    “And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain — no matter what kind — they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”

    Coexist, where 24 of the 31 staff are women, is no ordinary company. It manages Hamilton House in the city’s bohemian Stokes Croft quarter, running the space for artists, activists and community organisations. […]

  51. nahuati says

    Female scientist fights harassment with Wikipedia

    After a some particularly vicious harassment a few months ago, Temple-Wood decided she need to “focus her rage” and chose to respond by adding a female scientist to Wikipedia for every harassing or sexist comment she received online.

    The vast majority of the harassment comes from the Wikipedia community.

    A comment disagreeing with her or pointing out an error she’s made doesn’t make the cut for starting a new article, she says.

    “It’s specifically being sexist and gross,” she says. “If it makes me want to cry, it definitely goes on the list, or if it would make my mom uncomfortable.”

    She has added about 50 articles since then and has a backlog of more than 100 instances. An experienced Wiki editor, Temple-Wood estimates it takes her about a half-hour to write short biographies.

    Good for Emily Temple-Wood! She’s making a difference in the world.

  52. nahuati says

    Girl Called ‘Fat Whale’ Turns Cyberbullying Humiliation into Saving The Whales

    When a classmate posted on social media calling her a “fat whale,” this brave teen turned that act of cyberbullying into an online effort to save real whales.

    Dannie McMillan, who goes by Dee, discovered a Twitter account called “Dee the fat whale” featuring a picture of her with a whale over her face.

    On the verge of tears, she reached out to her role model, the plus-size model Laura Lee. When Dee remarked that she probably should make a t-shirt to show the bullies hadn’t gotten to her, Laura cheered the idea as a way to turn the experience into something good.

    Dee set up an online page selling custom t-shirts exclaiming “Dee the Fat Whale Saves the Whales”, along with a GoFundMe page to raise money for the California-based Save the Whales.

    Lee promoted the campaign among her 25,000 Facebook followers, with a message: “So happy she took this negative act and turned it into something Amazing! Love not hate! Keep Shining Mama!”

    In a little over two weeks, Dee’s raised more than $2,000 for Save the Whales — and the Twitter account mocking the teen has been taken down.

    Way to go, Dee!

  53. says

    ‘Yall remember Jian Ghimeshi, the CBC star who got accused to rape by a *lot* of women, and had been the subject of the whole “do you know about Jian? he rapes people” whisper campaign to try and protect women who were new to the biz?

    He got cleared of all charges.

    “While case law says that the judge also cannot hold post-assault conduct against the complainants, the judge says that, in this case, their behaviour seems ‘out of harmony’ with their statements in court.
    ‘The twists and turns of the complainants’ evidence in this trial illustrates the need to be vigilant’ in order not fall into the assumption ‘that sexual assault complainants are always truthful,’ the judge said.”

    Motherfucking judge literally went against the fucking case law to hand down “wimminz be lying yo”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/jian-ghomeshi-judge-ruling-1.3504250

  54. says

    Great article, Akira, but it might do well to consider a content note for graphic descriptions of rape therein. Fortunately for me, I’m in a good place today, but that was pretty graphic for a lot of survivors to read without warning. But seriously, great article and worth reading.

  55. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry, sorry. My bad. Still getting the hang of current online manners.

  56. says

    I have a thought that I have started putting into practice on Facebook and I was curious if anyone else had a similar thought. This is a good time to start talking about what sexual assault looks like, particularly sharing stories about people who have been assaulted in bathrooms and who were ignored or whose assailant got away with it as a means of redirecting the fears of people to a more constructive end.

    The biggest reason that people getting assaulted in bathrooms is in the news is because of people who are paranoid about issues related to sex and gender. Before this people were already getting sexually assaulted in bathrooms and that was getting ignored because society has a problem taking sexual assault seriously. So I’ve started pointing out that this is about learning to recognize predatory behavior and not simply reacting to perceived sex or gender. When family on Facebook post articles about predators being predatory in bathrooms I’ve started telling them this is a good time to start learning what predatory behavior looks like if they really want to look like they care about dealing with sexual predation.

    While the situation is sad, it could be an opportunity. Thoughts?