Are you ready for some misogyny? Yeah, me neither. But if we must… read on for an update on the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, to see why Jezebel made my list of terrible people, and for a healthy dose of venting courtesy of our friends at Pajiba. (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)
Unfortunately, there’s no good news to report about the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram (unless you count the fact that the news is finally covering the kidnapping). The group released a video in which the leader brags about taking the girls and says that Allah has commanded him to sell them. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has finally spoken out against the group and has said he’ll accept assistance from the U.S. and other countries to try to get the girls back, but it’s likely that they’ve been split into smaller groups, which will hamper recovery efforts. Boko Haram militants have also killed 310 people in the regional capital that has served as a staging ground for the search. The kidnapping has finally caught the attention of social media; #BringBackOurGirls and has been trending on Twitter and #RealMenDontBuyGirls has been circulating again, though many have scoffed at the idea that hashtag campaigns actually help.
Multiple West Virginia junior high students were punished for reporting that they’d been sexually assaulted by two boys at the school because both boys were related to members of the school board. The school board is now under investigation for threatening the girls and covering up the allegations.
Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was found guilty of assaulting a police officer because she thrust her elbow back instinctively after he grabbed her breast from behind in the crowd; she was denied bail and could face up to seven years in prison. Molly Knefel from The Guardian outlines the evidence suppression that meant the jury wasn’t shown pictures of her bruises or told about other police violence against Occupy protesters, including acts committed by the officer she elbowed.
Republicans on a New York State Senate committee have blocked a bill that would have expanded abortion access in the state.
Fox News’ new show Outnumbered is terrible in pretty much every way possible. Sure, there are four women hosting the show with a different male guest in each episode, but of course the title is a joke from the man’s point of view. The dress code forbids the women from wearing pants, because then their legs wouldn’t be on display. And it’s Fox, so the content is predictably awful too.
Jodielynn Wiley was refused admittance to a Dallas Salvation Army-run long-term housing shelter because she’s transgender and has not undergone gender confirmation surgery. She’d been forced to flee her hometown of Paris, Texas after police refused to deal with the death threats and harassment she’d received for being trans.
The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is worse than many other developed nations and the number of women dying in childbirth rose to 18.5 deaths per 100,000 births last year. Only eight countries have had their maternal maternity rate rise over the last decade, and 2013 had one of the highest rates in the U.S. in the last quarter century.
New York may be changing the law that allows police to confiscate condoms from suspected sex workers and to use the fact that someone is carrying multiple condoms as evidence that they’re a prostitute.
Yahoo is being pressured to follow Google’s example and drop ads from crisis pregnancy centers; no word yet on whether they’ll do so.
Terrible people of the week!
- Texas State District Judge Jeanine Howard, who sentenced a man who confessed to raping a 14-year-old girl when he was 18 to only 45 days in jail (because the victim had previously had three sex partners and had given birth, so in Howard’s opinion it wasn’t that big a deal and didn’t deserve a longer sentence, and besides, she thinks he’s not a “typical sex offender”) and then 250 days of community service at a rape crisis center. He must also spend the anniversary of the rape in jail until his probation ends in five years, but will have his record wiped clean if he complies with the terms of his probation. The crisis center in question refused to allow him to volunteer there, so he will be given an alternate assignment by a new judge, but the sentence is still infuriatingly light since he could have been given 20 years behind bars.
- Matt Bevin, who’s challenging Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky Republican senate primary, managed to get in two big doses of terrible this week. First, for running on a platform to repeal Obamacare even though his family was once denied coverage for the pre-existing condition of having adopted children (which, you guessed it, isn’t allowed under Obamacare). And second, for saying that the potential Democratic candidate in the race, Alison Lundergan Grimes, is only running on being a nice young woman and that she has no experience or ability to speak on the issues. She’s the Kentucky Secretary of State and a lawyer.
- The Louisiana Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, which passed an omnibus anti-choice bill that would impose a ton of unnecessary restrictions on abortion and coul lead to the closure of all but one of the state’s five clinics.
- South Dakota Rep. Steve Hickey, who wrote a “gay sex and trans people are gross!” op-ed that was so graphic that the state’s biggest paper refused to print it. So he posted it to Facebook instead.
- Iowa congressional candidate Monte Shaw, who said that the contraception mandate violates religious institutions’ religious rights in the same way that it would be wrong to force Jews and African-Americans to do business with neo-Nazis and the KKK.
- Athens, Georgia Mayor Nancy Denson, who in response to a forum question about sexual assault on college campuses said that she wished she “knew the answer to get guys to behave themselves and girls to behave themselves so we don’t have problems.” How many times do we have to tell people that women don’t deserve to get raped if they go out drinking??
- Ukip candidate Roger Helmer, for trying to clarify his previous controversial comments about rape by saying that it isn’t the victim’s fault, but that women shouldn’t put themselves in a position to raped. Just like how you shouldn’t leave your house unlocked when you go on vacation because it makes it easier for burglars to get in. Not helping, dude.
- The Las Vegas Metro Police Department, which co-sponsored an event that told teens and their parents that “premarital sex will lead to prostitution, sex trafficking, drug abuse, and death.”
- The police department in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which announced plans to live-tweet a prostitution sting.
- Jezebel, for fawning all over the video of Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, and James McAvoy dancing to “Blurred Lines.” One, you know that song is terrible; you even admit it in the article that you don’t like it (and a couple of commenters pointed out that hypocrisy). And two, Fassbender has been accused of domestic violence, so I don’t care how pretty he is or how big a dick he has, the internet needs to stop swooning over him.
- Black Milk Clothing, for posting a sexist meme on their Facebook page in “honor” of Star Wars Day and then proceeding to have a complete social media meltdown when people called them out.
- Future and Kanye West, for releasing a video game for their song “I Won” in which you play as Future or Kanye and throw chains around women in bikinis to win them.
Shailene Woodley is the latest celebrity to come out with a statement that she’s not one of those yucky man-hating feminists, even though she clearly has no fucking idea what feminism actually is and has internalized a bunch of misogynistic bullshit. You should totally read Pajiba’s response because it is brilliant (aside from that tiny bit about all women having a vagina, which I get is supposed to be hyperbole, but sigh). I mean:
MOTHERFUCKING SHIT GODDAMN. I am so fucking sick of faux intellectual Hollywood dipsaps telling us why they’re not feminists when they clearly have no fucking clue about what feminism is because if they did they wouldn’t fucking be saying this. GODDAMN SHIT MOTHERFUCKER.
- California is considering two bills that would require public restrooms to have baby-changing facilities that are accessible to men instead of just having them in the ladies’ room.
- The contraception mandate saved women an estimated $483 million in birth control co-pays. Thanks, Obama!
- Teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates all dropped precipitously between 1990 and 2010. Sex ed and birth control work!
- High fives to the psychologists at USC who looked at 58 studies that looked at whether women behaved differently depending on where they were in their menstrual cycle and found that our cycle actually doesn’t affect how attractive we find men or any of that other garbage. Turns out that some studies were using really bad assumptions about when women were actually fertile and that a lot of the studies had found no difference, but they just didn’t get published because the journals favored the ones that did say we’re all hormonal and irrational.
- Another debunking of a sort — all the stories freaking out about a study that supposedly found genes on the Y chromosome that make men and women fundamentally different are misreading one speculative sentence in the study. The genes actually work with genes on the X chromosome to make sure that fetuses develop properly; though we aren’t yet sure precisely how they work, we do know that two sets are necessary for the genome to function.
A minor victory in South Carolina, where the state legislature passed a new sex ed curriculum that requires teachers to give accurate information and instructions on how to use contraception (though it does still push abstinence). Hat tip to the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill, Rep. B.R. Skelton.
- In time for National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, Tara Culp-Ressler has some advice on how to discuss teen pregnancy without shaming young women.
- Emily Letts, an abortion counselor, talks about her decision to film her surgical abortion so that other women would see that it’s nothing to be afraid of.
- Now this is the sex talk teen girls deserve!
- Amanda Hess explains why the list of schools under investigation for mishandling sexual abuse cases is dominated by high-profile universities — students at smaller schools may feel stigmatized or may not have the support system to cope with filing multiple complaints.
- And yes, conservative commentators who are flipping out about numbers cited by the White House, the statistic that 1 in 5 college women is a victim of sexual assault is real. It does not mean that 1 in 5 college men is a rapist; it means that some men are serial rapists and that you are bad at logic and math.
- Morgan Jenkins tells the idiot “white privilege isn’t real” dude what it’s like to be a black woman at Princeton.
- Jodi Savitz talks about having content removed from the Facebook page for her documentary Girl on Girl for supposedly violating the site’s porn ban despite being much less explicit than content on the page of the straight dude who reported her image and made death threats against the models involved.
- If Monica Lewinsky says her relationship with Bill Clinton was consensual despite the power differential and age difference between them (she was 22, so well beyond the age of consent), we should take her at her word instead of trying to tell her she was raped.
- Some of the ways moms are getting screwed by the current economy. Happy Mother’s Day!
- Also timely: A reminder that there’s a difference between “childless” and “childfree.”
- If you didn’t already see this in Sally’s ladyblogland post, go read Feministing’s post about the five times Neil deGrasse Tyson stole our feminist hearts. Or go reread it; I did!
- Jessica Valenti talks to comedian Hari Kondabolu about using humor responsibly.
- Why do so many people think it’s awesome that Louis C.K. hooked up with Yvonne Strahovski in an episode of Louie, but think it’s horrifying that Lena Dunham hooked up with Patrick Wilson on Girls?
- A rant about how the clothing industry doesn’t understand women’s bodies.
- Bless this Dorkly comic about why we can’t get a Wonder Woman movie.
- A plea for Emma Stone not to star in an upcoming Woody Allen film. (Don’t accidentally scroll down to the comments like I did. I swear, I know better!)
- Why people need to calm down about the picture of Willow Smith with a shirtless Moises Arias.
- The Hairpin responds on Jennifer Lawrence’s behalf to the Esquire article that concern-trolled her about her drinking habits in the most condescending and sexist manner possible (but lol, it was just a joke!). My favorite bit?
When I was a little girl growing up in Louisville, I was looking up at the sky one night and I said, “God, please let my behavior always meet the exacting standards of a male blogger who doesn’t really understand how to use babble as a noun,” and at the moment, I swear, there was a shooting star.
Finally, let’s finish with this advice from College Humor.