Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time to learn about all the things that sucked this week! Hooray! Let’s talk about Miss America, the NFL, and why you really should smile more, ladies! Trust me on that one. (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)
Let’s start with some awesomeness for once. Alison Bechdel is one of the 2014 MacArthur Fellows (aka the MacArthur Genius Grant)! The other winners are pretty darn awesome too, and they did a great job of picking a really diverse group.
Five months after Boko Haram made headlines for kidnapping more than 270 Nigerian girls from their school, basically no progress has been made in the attempts to get them back and the group reportedly kidnapped dozens of people from another village this week.
The Miss America pageant was held last Sunday. During the interview portion, judge Kathy Ireland brought up the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal and the fact that Janay stayed with him, and then asked Miss Florida, “As a woman, what do you think of her decision?” Wrong fucking question. And here’s your reminder that it’s one thing to criticize the pageant industry, but it’s not cool to rag on the contestants and assume they’re all stupid and anti-feminist because they’re pretty (though the “checkmate, feminists!” tone is
a bit fucking annoying). After all, the newly-crowned Miss America, Kira Kazantsev, did internships with Planned Parenthood (to the dismay of anti-choice advocates) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
There were two incidents (that we know of…) this week in which black women were accused of being prostitutes. Django Unchanged actress Danièle Watts was handcuffed when she refused to provide ID to an LAPD officer responding to complaints that she was “showing affection” with her white boyfriend, Brian James Lucas. Watts and Lucas posted on Facebook to say that while the police officer never came out and said he thought she was a prostitute, it was definitely implied; the audiotape released by TMZ backs this up (maybe don’t read the accompanying text at that link if you don’t want a ragestroke). He asks in a condescending manner if she knows what “probable cause” is, which means that at the very least the person who called police thought there was criminal activity going on. Eyewitnesses also reported that the couple was having sex, not just making out, but it’s hard to say if that was also an assumption based on her being a WoC (people took pictures that show her straddling his lap, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they were having sex). In NYC, meanwhile, a security guard at the Standard Hotel loudly told three black women to “stop soliciting” when a man offered to buy them drinks.
THIS is why we need to test rape kits immediately instead of ignoring them for years: A former Memphis cop who went on to work at the Boys and Girls Club in Atlanta was identified when the DNA collected from a rape in June 2000 was finally tested. (The Boys and Girls Club promptly fired him when they found out.)
Three underage girls are suing Backpage.com for not blocking ads selling girls who are too young to consent to sex (and thus trafficking victims, not sex workers). The girls, who are only 13 and 15 years old, were raped repeatedly after their profiles were posted.
Oscar Pistorius was cleared of murder charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, because the judge said they couldn’t prove he was lying about thinking there was a burglar in his bathroom when he fired through the door. He was found guilty of culpable homicide, but is out on bail until his sentencing hearing on October 13.
Terrible People of the Week
- Senate Republicans, for blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act unanimously (which yes, means that the four female Republican senators voted against it).
- The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, for ruling that a law against perverts taking surreptitious upskirt pictures was unconstitutional and “paternalistic.”
- Rush Limbaugh, for complaining that consent isn’t sexy and that men “have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it.” Well yeah, some of them have learned that, but they’re fucking wrong!
- The Chronicle of Higher Learning, for publishing a blurb on the front page that read “Accused of Sexual Assault, Men Fight Back.” The five-page article inside went on to whine about false accusations and give the impression that most men who are accused are innocent, which isn’t fucking true.
- Russell Pearce, former Arizona state senator, who had to resign from his position and the first vice chair of the Arizona Republican Party because he said that if he were in charge, he’d force women on Medicaid to get birth control implants or tubal ligations and also require testing for drugs and alcohol use. He then tried to claim that he forgot to mention he was quoting someone else and was only resigning so meanie Democrats didn’t use that against Republican candidates. (Autoplay warning at the link.)
- The fucknuts who threatened to detonate a bomb and “kill at least a dozen people” at the Game Developers’ Choice award ceremony in March because Anita Sarkeesian was receiving an Ambassador Award.
- The International Olympic Committee, for banning Indian track and field star Dutee Chand because her body produces more testosterone than most women and they feel that gives her an unfair advantage (though there’s no evidence to back up that claim).
- The three HISD police officers who tackled a 10th-grade girl to the ground at Sam Houston High School after she refused to relinquish her cell phone to an assistant principal because she was worried about her sick mom.
- Bob Beckel, for telling his Fox News coworker Kimberly Guilfoyle that she wouldn’t have a job at the network if she had shorter legs. (And he’s supposed to be the liberal guy on the network!)
- Chick-Fil-A, for demoting a manager who went on temporary leave to have a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Staff at Ginger, for refusing to allow Suzette Jordan to enter the Kolkata restaurant after they recognized her as a gang rape victim who has become an anti-rape advocate.
- GoFundMe, for updating the rules to ban all abortion fundraisers or fundraisers for abortion-related causes…but then leaving up anti-choice campaigns.
- “Ryuto,” who created a “game” with the Oculus Rift that lets you squeeze some pretend boobs and watch an animated girl recoil.
- Sam Harris, for saying that the “critical posture” that draws people to atheism is “to some degree intrinsically male.” And when he got called out for that bullshit, for writing a mansplain-y article titled “I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For.”
A big “fuck you” to the people of Front Royal, Virginia, who are freaking the fuck out about the Naughty Girls Donut Shop that 16-year-old Tiana Ramos opened at a local mall because she and the other teens who work there wear rockabilly/pin-up outfits and because the logo is supposedly Satanic. She owns her own successful business at age 16 and has donated thousands of dollars to charity, but still has to deal with online reviewers calling her a slut, people telling her that “Naughty girls burn in Hell,” and boycott threats. Real fucking nice, assholes.
Laura Ramadei is a BAMF for calling out guys who feel entitled to grope female bartenders and make sexist comments. Brian Lederman, the hedge fund douche who inspired the letter and called her a “cunt” when asked to comment on it, can go fuck himself.
Solidarity high fives to the Staten Island high school students who are protesting their school’s new dress code, since only girls have gotten in trouble. If you don’t have air conditioning in the school and it’s in the 90s, telling more than 100 girls that their shorts and tank tops are too “distracting” means you think it’s more important for boys to pay attention (which should be on them, not the girls) than for girls to be comfortable.
Y’all. Other Columbia University students are helping Emma Sulkowicz carry her mattress to classes in solidarity with her protest that her rapist is still at the school. Who’s chopping onions in here?
- Microbiologists just found an unusual source for a new antibiotic — it’s naturally produced by a bacteria that lives in our vaginas. Fucking awesome.
- WalletHub looked at factors including the cost of childbirth, access to pediatricians, and overall “baby-friendliness” to figure out the best and worst states in which to have a baby.
- Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts Research Institute ranked the best and worst states in which to raise a girl. Unsurprisingly, there’s a fair amount of overlap with WalletHub’s list, though I really wish they hadn’t included obesity rates as a criteria that makes a state bad for girls.
We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified. The best thing you can do if you support reproductive rights is to force people to realize that abortion is common, and the most common abortion is a five-to-15-minute procedure elected early in the first trimester by someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant or have a child. It’s our job to say it’s O.K. if that’s the end of the story. It’s O.K. if it’s boring or not traumatic or if you don’t even know what it was.
The reasons, the feelings, the personal contexts — these we can also talk about, but only after we grant to each woman the right to make and do with her body what she will. Regardless of whether or not a compelling story is on offer. Merritt Tierce
- “I am tired of talking about feminism to men.” YES.
- It’s great that women are talking about #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft, but why don’t we spend more time asking why men are abusive in the first place?
- Anita Sarkeesian: “One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.”
- The National Book Awards have been doing a better job of recognizing female authors recently, but not in the nonfiction category.
- 25 famous women talk about being childless.
- Ashley Judd on misogyny in Hollywood.
- Do women on TV actually get to follow their dreams, or are those storylines too often abandoned so they can get the guy?
- Why DC needs to stop leaving the female superheroes and villains out of their merchandising.
- 9 things you should never ever say to a black woman.
- 12 women who kicked ass in sports that used to be (or still are) just for men.
- 5 annoying things that female football fans have to deal with. (Spoiler alert: They’re basically the same things girl geeks have to deal with.)
- Why women shouldn’t be afraid to ride bikes outside of spin class.
- OMG, men, stop freaking out about whether and how to open doors for women. If you get there first, open it, whether the other person approaching is a woman or a man, because that’s polite.
- The logical conclusion of women smiling when random men tell them to, from Funny or Die.
Oh, and of course we’re not done talking about Ray Rice and the NFL yet.
- CBS canceled Rihanna’s planned performance before the opening game between the Ravens and Steelers. Some people apparently thought it was a good idea, others, not so much.
- Some Ravens fans still wore Rice jerseys to the game last Thursday, and their reasons for doing so are predictably stupid.
- For fuck’s sake, Ray Rice is not the victim here. STFU, A.J. Delgado; the fact that Janay hit her head on the railing of the elevator doesn’t absolve Ray of responsibility for knocking her out since she wouldn’t have hit her head if he hadn’t punched her.
- TRUTH: “The only thing unusual about Ray and Janay Rice is that anyone noticed.”
- CoverGirl seems to have taken down the page for their “Get Your Game Face On” partnership with the NFL after someone photoshopped the Ravens makeup suggestion to give the model a black eye.
- Apparently the chief marketing officer of the NFL thinks “females” are important to the game because matriarchs boss everyone around and tell their families what to watch and what they’re allowed to buy. For fuck’s sake.
- Several celebrities came out with stories or PSAs about domestic violence. Meredith Vieira revealed that she was in an abusive relationship when she was younger and stayed with him out of fear. Kerry Washington designed a purse as part of a campaign to draw awareness to the fact that many abusers control their partners finances, making it difficult for them to leave. Yamma Brown, the daughter of singer James Brown, talked about growing up in a home where he beat her mother and how that affected her adult relationships.
- CBS sportscaster James Brown (no relation) called on us to start actually listening to women and stop saying misogynistic shit that gets so ingrained in people that they really do think women are inferior to men.
Perhaps most depressing is that the NFL is already dealing with another domestic abuse case. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday for injuring his wife and endangering their son back in July. Dwyer allegedly headbutted his wife in the face and broke her nose because she didn’t want to have sex with him. Someone overheard the argument and called police; Dwyer hid from the officers who responded and told his wife that he’d kill himself if she told them what he’d done. The following day he punched her in the face, threw a shoe at their toddler (but missed, fortunately), and threw her phone out the window when she said she was calling police.