This Week in Misogyny is Getting Fed Up

I’ve had it up to here with all the anti-choice, anti-woman BS in the world. Who’s with me? Here’s your weekly roundup of all the awfulness you might have missed. (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)

What the hell, let’s start with abortion since there’s always plenty to cover on that topic!

  • A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Americans’ mixed and sometimes contradictory opinions on abortion. While 56% of respondents favor dropping the legal limit on unrestricted abortions from the current 24 weeks (as decided by the Supreme Court) to 20 weeks, 55% think the procedure should be legal in all or most circumstances. Only 30% think that each state should be able to set its own rules, while 66% favor uniform rules based on the Constitution. A smaller majority oppose regulations on abortion clinics that are designed to drive them out of business.
  • Last Thursday, Texas governor Rick Perry signed into law the abortion bill initially blocked by Wendy Davis’s filibuster. The ACLU has promised to fight it in court, and on the local level, activists are hoping to unseat everyone who voted for it.
  • During protests at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, 14 year old Tuesday Cain carried a sign that read “Jesus isn’t a dick so keep him out of my vagina.” She’s come forward to defend herself after having older men scream at her and her friend that they were “ugly” during the protests and being called a “whore” after photos of her with the sign circulated online.
  • At the North Dakota State Fair, Right to Life activists handed out bags of candy to kids… and also included creepy fetus dolls and anti-abortion pamphlets. In a bit of good news from the state, a judge blocked a law that would have banned abortions as soon as the heartbeat can be detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
  • A federal judge has also blocked implementation of an Alabama law that would force the closure of three of the state’s five clinics that offer abortions.
  • Colorado personhood activists are vowing to fight for new legislation that defines the fetus as a person. A bill was passed earlier this year to punish people for crimes against pregnant women, but it very explicitly did not grant personhood to the fetus or allow women to be punished for miscarriages or voluntary abortions.
  • The late George Tiller’s abortion clinic in Kansas is reopening after four years, but Clear Channel is refusing to play the clinic’s ads on the grounds that they are “indecent.” They don’t actually mention abortion, sex, or even birth control.
  • Missouri State Senate Majority Whip Brian Nieves (R) declared during an exchange on his Facebook page that abortions to save the life of the mother are merely, “A matter of convenience.” Dying is pretty inconvenient, you know.
  • Not depressed/angry enough yet? Addicting Info has a breakdown of the war on women in 26 states across America and a list of 40 quotes by Republicans on the topic of rape (mostly as relates to ensuing pregnancy/abortion). Hulksmash.

Marte Deborah Dalelv, a Norwegian woman who reported being raped while on a business trip to Dubai, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for unlawful sex outside of marriage. After an international outcry, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum essentially pardoned her by erasing the record of the case, but this means that her rapist walks free as well.

Three women have come forward this week to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment. He refuses to resign, even though as explained below by Rachel Maddow, he’s been banned from meeting one-on-one with women. Men can have business meetings with him without issue, but for women (including his brand-new chief of staff!) to be able to talk to their mayor, they need a chaperone. That’s not much of a solution.

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Eliot Spitzer has seemingly been forgiven for visiting prostitutes while he was the governor of New York. Why don’t we ever forgive sex workers?

I don’t even know what to say about the latest Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. In response to one of the texts that referenced “fuckme shoes,” Simon Doonan asked readers at Slate why straight men are seemingly obsessed with naked women in high heels. Some of his suggestions raised my eyebrows, and the comments were predictably awful. And of course, it didn’t take long for people to start slamming Huma Abedin for staying with him.

President Obama has nominated Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As a lawyer, she’s fought (and won) several high-profile cases for women’s rights; so of course, conservatives in Congress are trying to block her nomination.

Due to an FDA ruling, for the next three years women under 17 will only be allowed to purchase brand-name emergency contraception over the counter, not the more affordable generics.

Hobby Lobby has been granted a temporary exemption from providing contraceptive coverage under the employee health insurance plan.

Royal Baby news! CNN’s Virginia Arbiter seems to have forgotten basic biology; she heaped praise on Kate for producing a male heir, though that’s really on William. Tina Brown also praised Kate for doing “the perfect thing” by having a boy (what the hell would be wrong with a girl anyway?). The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel may be confused as well, tweeting ,”It’s a boy. Does that make Kate an anti-feminist?” (She later claimed it was a joke, but I’m not sure how that was supposed to be funny.) More depressingly, her private birthing suite cost considerably less than the average birth in the US. While most people have been throwing out a price tag of around $15,000, that was the cost if she’d stayed several nights; since she checked out of the hospital the day after giving birth, her total was even lower.

Martin Belam set up a spoof Twitter account on which he pretended to be different historical figures commenting on BBC Question Time. People happily played along when he used a male persona, but when he used a female alter-ego, he got instant complaints about a feminist agenda and not letting men have a voice.

When women are presented with a stereotypically masculine presentation of the dorm room of a computer science major, it makes them less likely to say they’d be interested in majoring in computer science. Let’s work on those stereotypes, mmkay?

Oh for fuck’s sake, Suzanne Venker, men are not second class citizens! Internalized misogyny at its most annoying and eyeroll-worthy.

Recommended reading:

  • What do you do when you speak at a professional conference and coverage of it mostly discusses your looks and youth (and doesn’t even give your full name)? Four women who presented at the 8th World Conference of Science Journalists were put in precisely this situation, and they give a great example of how to stand up for yourself.
  • Why science doesn’t need a “female Brian Cox.” Sure, we need more prominent female scientists, but we don’t have to diminish them by making them the female version of a man.
  • Yes, women really can be genuine sports fans, not just dragged to games by boyfriends. That shouldn’t be a shock, but it still is.
  • Finally, check out this photo album to see how 600 Cambridge students completed the sentence, “I need feminism because”¦”

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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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