Buckle up, everyone, it’s about to get rough up in here. Hobby Lobby went before the Supreme Court this week, so that could really suck if the court sides with them. Our new weekly list of terrible people is just ridiculous today, and schools are also being particularly shitty. But to balance that out, we have a few scathingly funny critics of bro culture. And dick pics! Sorta. (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)
The biggest story is, of course, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood’s anti-contraception mandate case that was heard by the Supreme Court this week. Let’s start with the fact that not only do they not want the insurance plans that employees pay for to be allowed to cover contraception, they don’t even want the insurance to cover doctors talking about contraception (though since conversations aren’t billed, it would be difficult to enforce). During oral arguments before the court on Tuesday, Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan hammered the corporations’ talking points (seriously, go read what they said), but it still looks like the court could go either way. Of course, as Jill Filipovic and Sandra Fluke discussed, there are a LOT of other things that corporations could ban on religious grounds (blood transfusions, mental health care, AIDS drugs…) if the court rules against the mandate. After all, they’ve tried it before. I think the part of this that pisses me off the most is that the court can’t consider whether or not Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood’s beliefs that some forms of contraception are abortifacients are even true (it’s not; they aren’t!) because holding incorrect views about science is apparently a fucking protected religious belief. But thankfully, a new poll found that American women overwhelmingly oppose Hobby Lobby’s stance on contraception and support the ACA mandate. If you still want to read more on the case, SCOTUSblog has a ton of coverage if you scroll back a day or so. Or just watch the Daily Show‘s coverage if you’d rather laugh through the tears.
At least New York state is taking steps to close a legal loophole and ensure that women cannot be fired based on their reproductive choices if their boss objects to them.
There was some good news from SCOTUS this week; they issued a unanimous decision that bars people convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun under federal law if there was any physical violence involved.
Under Hawaii law, it’s technically legal for police officers to have sex with prostitutes before arresting them, and even though police departments promise that their own rules prevent this from happening, they don’t want the law to be amended.
Fucking Kansas. A bill that was intended to allow families to be issued birth and death certificates after miscarriages has been amended and, if passed, would require doctors to report all miscarriages to the state’s department of health. They also defunded Planned Parenthood, because let’s not actually provide reproductive services to women.
Terrible people of the week!
- Arizona pastor Steven Anderson, who made headlines in 2009 when he publicly wished for President Obama to die of a brain tumor. This time, he’s ordering women not to talk in his church because, “It’s not for a woman to be doing the preaching, and second of all, it’s not for women to be speaking.”
- The string of judges who for years let Jared Remy walk free with little more than a slap on the wrist even though he repeatedly found himself in court facing charges that mostly involve violence against women. He’s currently being charged with murdering his girlfriend.
- Federal court judge Richard Kopf, who responded to an article in Slate about the latest “huge problem” with how female lawyers dress in the courtroom by saying that he’s “a dirty old man” and that a lawyer shouldn’t dress like “an ignorant slut.”
- Massachusetts State Sen. Richard J. Ross (R), who put forward a bill that would change the state’s divorce law and forbid the parent who has remained in the couple’s formerly shared home from having sex in that home until the divorce and all custody issues are settled (unless they get permission from a judge first). The partner who got kicked out and presumably doesn’t have to care for the kids as much can have as much sex as they want. And the really annoying part is that Ross claims not to even support the bill, but he put it forward for one of his constituents anyway.
- Alaska State Sen. Pete Kelly, who wants the state to pay for women to take pregnancy tests before drinking in bars or restaurants so that they can make responsible choices to avoid having a child with fetal alcohol syndrome but is opposed to paying for birth control because people who use it “don’t necessarily want to act responsibly” and thinks using contraception is “social engineering.” (Though, I’ve seen several people interpret this as requiring women to take pregnancy tests to drink or requiring bars to refuse service to pregnant women, which doesn’t appear to be the case, though it could certainly lead to more drastic steps in the future.)
- Missouri Republican state legislators, who have already introduced at least 32 separate anti-abortion measures this year. And of course they have refused the Medicaid expansion offered under Obamacare.
- Pat Robertson, who said that atheist women are controlled by “demonic” forces and might have rejected Jesus because they were raped.
- Rush Limbaugh, who mocked the proposed National Women’s History Museum by saying that we already have plenty of museums for women; “they are called malls.” But hey, it’s just a joke, and he was gonna say brothels but didn’t!
- TIME Magazine and Caroline Kitchens, for an op-ed claiming that rape culture doesn’t exist and that people who discuss it are hysterical and vilify all men. They later published a counter-argument that ripped Kitchens’ allegations to shreds.
- SELF Magazine, which mocked a woman who was wearing a tutu while running in the LA Marathon, not realizing that she was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for brain cancer or that she made the tutu herself and sells them to raise money for charity. (Autoplay warning)
- Joan Rivers, who in an interview with Howard Stern went off on a bizarre fat-phobic rant about Lena Denham.
Shanesha Taylor lost custody of her two children and is facing child abuse charges because she’s homeless and didn’t have anyone to watch her kids while she was in a job interview, so she left them in her car. (Which is obviously not a good idea because cars can get hot enough to kill kids even if you leave the windows open a crack as she did, but it sucks that she had no other options and was trying to do the right thing by looking for a job.)
Misogyny in schools
- There’s a lot of blatant misinformation and bullshit in the textbooks used by private schools (including some that are partially taxpayer funded since they accept vouchers). Unsurprisingly, they’re also teaching misogyny and racism.
- Meanwhile the new World History curriculum for 9th and 10th graders from the New York Board of Regents only mentions one woman, Mary Wollstonecraft.
- An Evanston, Illinois middle school has jumped into the debate over whether leggings are pants. Girls were pulled out of class to get a lecture on how their clothing could be distracting for boys, and yet only certain students (the ones with boobs and/or the more heavyset girls) are actually being punished for wearing them.
- A Virginia Christian school sent home a letter saying that they would kick out 8-year-old Sunnie Kahle if she didn’t start acting and dressing more appropriately feminine.
- A Grand Junction, Colorado charter school suspended 9-year-old Kamryn Renfro for two days for violating the school’s dress code — because she shaved her head in solidarity with a friend who’d lost her hair while undergoing chemotherapy. The school board voted 3-1 to let her come back. (Autoplay warning)
- Schools aren’t just misogynist, of course; many are also racist. A new study found that even in preschool, black students are suspended at far higher rates than white students, and the other findings are just as depressing.
Former President Jimmy Carter has a new book out this week, A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, in which he tackles human rights violations against women around the world and discusses how conservative religious leaders and the United States are partially to blame for anti-woman attitudes.
Three cheers for VP Joe Biden, who called on Congress to pass a law forbidding discrimination against gays in the workplace.
President Obama also called for new legislation this week; in his case a bill to require equal pay for men and women.
- NPR interviewed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
- Rapper Lil B held an impromptu discussion of rape culture on Twitter, and while he said a few things that weren’t great, he also retweeted criticisms of his comments and hopefully learned from them (which if you’ve ever seen a Twitter flame war, is not how they usually play out).
- Zerlina Maxwell outlines five ways we can teach men not to rape.
- From Tumblr, a fantastic summation of how society fails teen girls.
- The New York Times covered the strange case of an Orthodox Jewish couple who’s been legally divorced since 2007, but despite that fact that the ex-husband remarried this weekend (supposedly with the dispensation of 100 rabbis), he has refused to give his ex-wife the document that would dissolve their marriage in the eyes of their religion, so she isn’t allowed to remarry.
- The Norwegian army has found an interesting way to reduce sexual harassment — unisex dorms.
- Valleywag commenters came forward with their stories of discrimination against women in tech.
- Kit Harington thinks it would be only fair for there to be more male nudity on Game of Thrones.
Cool story, bro
- At last, guys have jumped on the bandwagon of doing dumb things to raise “awareness” of cancer. By Instagramming themselves nude but for a sock on their penis. Because when I see a naked bro with a cock sock, I think of ways to fight testicular cancer. (NSFW pics at the link.)
- McSweeney’s has a really funny open letter to dudes who take up WAY too much space on crowded subways.
- Why men shouldn’t claim social awkwardness as a get-out-of-jail-free card for being creepy (and how to tell the difference between creepers and people who really do have a problem navigating social interactions).
- The A.V. Club discusses the Nice Guy™ storyline on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and why it shouldn’t be funny that one character refuses to stop pursuing a woman who repeatedly says no to him.
- VICE has the best description of the “American Bro” ever.
- Do yourself a favor and don’t actually read this list of “50 things every woman should realize about men.” You can probably guess most of them anyway.
And let’s end on a funny note, because lord knows you’ll need a good laugh if you’ve stuck with me this far. Though this is still rage-inducing because it’s fucking true.