Can we all go move to an island somewhere or something? Because the next two years with Republicans running the House and Senate are NOT looking fun. And it was a week of shitstorms and terrible people and all kinds of other assorted fuckery. Fun times! (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)
- Leading up to the election, a staffer for Senate candidate Dan Sullivan said that Alaska women are either “HARDY. Or on meth.” (Sullivan probably won anyway, unless there are an awful lot of votes for Mark Begich in the absentee ballots.)
- Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley defended naming his yacht after a Turkish sex slave, but at least he lost to Dan Malloy.
- Colorado was a mixed bag; they elected a congressman (Gordon Klingenschmitt) who once tried to exorcise President Obama and thinks transgender kids need to be spanked because they’re possessed by “demonic spirit[s],” but at least voters said no to a personhood amendment.
- A similar personhood amendment also failed in North Dakota.
- Unfortunately, Tennessee voters approved a change to the state constitution that makes it easier for legislators to pass abortion restrictions.
- There are going to 100 seated Congresswomen for the first time ever, thanks to a special election that means Alma Adams will be sworn in before January.
- Wendy Davis lost her bid for Texas governor, and it didn’t help that she only got about a third of white women’s votes, even though she got an overwhelming majority of votes among PoC. (Statistically, the statement that Davis lost the women’s vote is accurate, because white women voted in much larger numbers and more than cancelled out the votes of WoC, though I completely understand why it grates that a lot of outlets didn’t spell that out.)
- But also, fuck white male voters, 64% of whom voted for Republicans.
- Basically, THIS:
So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation. Ok then.
— Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) November 5, 2014
Ok, so, Lena Dunham. Last week Kevin D. Williamson wrote an article at National Review in which he quoted a section of her new book in which she described looking at her baby sister’s vagina and later masturbating with Grace asleep beside her in bed and bribing her to kiss her on the lips for five seconds, which apparently none of the other reviews of her book had mentioned. Shit, meet fan. Many people were quick to label her a sex abuser (and she herself wrote “…anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.”), while others wrote it off as normal exploration between kids. Which of course somehow turned into a conversation about white feminism, even though basically everyone I know was fairly horrified by the flippant manner in which she described her actions and some WoC (notably Roxane Gay) stepped in to tell everyone to simmer down. Lena initially lashed out on Twitter, then later issued a statement in which she apologized for triggering abuse victims and said she “[does] not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances,” and also pointed out that Grace read the book before publication and didn’t have a problem with her telling the story (and doesn’t appear to identify as a victim).
And more on street harassment! Dee Lockett argues that maybe the video didn’t have any usable footage of white men because street harassment is about “establishing power,” which they already have, and that they’re more likely to harass women at parties and bars and other places that men of color may have less access to (and their behavior is especially predatory towards women of color). However, the folks at Mass Appeal figured out where each instance of harassment was filmed, and more than half of them were from 125th St. in Harlem. At the very least, there were some highly suspect research methods at play here (seriously, even if you read none of the other links, check that one out). Interestingly, a New Zealand model walked around Auckland for ten hours and didn’t get catcalled a single time, which may point to cultural forces that make American men feel like it’s ok, instead of being an intrinsically male thing. For what it’s worth, Hollaback finally issued a statement about the video and its backlash; they apologized for the racial bias and announced that they plan to make more videos to show how this is a universal experience for women.
Of course, every idiot has a theory about who’s really to blame for street harassment. Rush Limbaugh said he thought most of the men were just “being polite” and that feminism is to blame because we were supposed to have convinced men to stop being assholes back in the ’60s and ’70s. At The Christian Post, Rachel Alexander said the furor was just ugly feminists being jealous and a bunch of other tired tripe. The best, though, was Steve Santagati’s bizarre rant on CNN, but mostly because of the amazing reaction gifs we got out of it because Fredricka Whitfield and Amanda Searles were SO not down with his mansplaining. I mean come on, ladies, have any of us not made these faces while getting mansplained at?
This is what a screenshot of "mansplainin" looks like. pic.twitter.com/okX1tKUUa0
— Hend (@LibyaLiberty) November 2, 2014
In other news…
Boko Haram announced that they have no plans to release the girls they kidnapped; they’ve been “married off” and they claim the government lied when they said they’d reached a deal. I wish I hadn’t assumed this was gonna happen.
Michigan lawmakers passed a “rape insurance bill” that forbids insurance plans from covering abortion except to save the life of the mother; people would have to purchase separate riders to get coverage, even for rape and incest.
Three more women came forward to accuse OKC police officer Daniel Holtzclaw of rape; he now faces 32 counts of rape, sexual battery, and other related charges.
A group of Libyan cadets are being sent home early from a training camp in the UK after several were accused of (and in two cases, admitted to) sexually assaulting women when they were allowed to leave their barracks. One cadet (who was not accused of any wrongdoing) spoke to BBC News and complained that it was unfair to press charges against the men because “They didn’t tell us about British law and what’s the difference between right and wrong here” and that Brits shouldn’t “take things too seriously.”
Worried about how his 14-year-old daughter’s reputation would suffer if she reported being raped by a family friend, a New Delhi father lured the alleged rapist to his house so he could tie him up and burn his genitals, then strangle him (though he contends he didn’t mean to actually kill the man).
Toronto police are now investigating the claims that Jian Ghomeshi has committed acts of sexual violence against women without their consent. And now for the navel-gazing, whether from people who knew him and had heard talk for years that he mistreated women but ignored it for whatever reason, or from feminists who admit that they didn’t believe the allegations at first. At least his former bandmates didn’t stand behind him.
Yes, there are some damned good-looking male celebrities wearing that “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt, but the women who make them at a factory in Mauritius only earn about a dollar an hour (the shirts sell for £45, which is about $70 US). However, it’s important to remember that this is a problem with most fashion labels, not just a single shirt.
Google had to pay a Canadian woman to compensate for posting her cleavage online after a street view camera took a picture of her leaning over while sitting in front of her house.
Universal Studios execs apologized to two 13-year-old girls who were called whores by a performer at Halloween Horror Nights.
Finally, some good news. Police located Carlesha Freeland-Gaither three days after she was kidnapped in Philadelphia, and her abductor is under arrest.
Terrible People of the Week
- Michael Castillo and Mark Lytle, the Austin, Texas cops who were caught on a dashcam recording whistling at a woman and mocking crime victims, with one saying, “Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t unrape you.” And that robbery victims “probably deserved it.” The other was more worried about the fact that the camera might be rolling than about what his partner was actually saying.
- Richard Brittain, who was so upset over a negative review of his book on Goodreads that he tracked the reviewer down and hit her over the head with a bottle of wine
- Artie Lange, for tweeting a graphic slavery-themed sex fantasy about ESPN host Cari Champion, and then for whining about the PC police and people who can’t take a joke when he got called out.
- Ann Coulter, for saying that Democratic voters who care about women’s issues are “the bottom 51 percent of voters in terms of knowledge and IQ.”
- Alison Howard, for saying that celebrities wearing “I (heart) Planned Parenthood” t-shirts were supporting an organization that actually doesn’t care about women’s health, just abortion, and that PP “single-handedly has murdered millions of young women.”
- Tucker Carlson, who got called out because his Daily Caller site frequently objectifies and disrespects women.
- Tucker Carlson again, for saying Republicans should have “an older white guy appreciate [sic] day” so people can finally learn about all the wonderful things white men have contributed to society.
- Arizona, in which the Gilbert Public School Board has ordered teachers to either rip out a couple pages of a biology textbook or use a marker to cross out references to birth control and abortion so that the books comply with a state law requiring educators to only mention childbirth and the possibility of adoption in response to pregnancies.
- The Southern Baptist Convention, which held a conference about “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” and spouted all kinds of transphobic and homophobic bullshit.
- The Arlington Martin High School football team, for making t-shirts that say “We take what we want. Shhhhhhh just let it happen,” which is totally rape-y. And the drawing of a really muscly shirtless dude in a war bonnet is pretty fucked up too; the school mascot is “The Warrior” (which is problematic enough), but from looking through the school’s website, the official versions of the logo are a lot less intimidating.
Eyerolls at Esquire for framing a style article on how to dress for dates as “The Dos and Don’t of Dressing to Get Out of the Friend Zone.” (And apparently this is only possible if you spend an obscene amount of money on clothing and grooming. Men, you can get a girlfriend without using a $485 shaving set or wearing a $350 denim shirt.)
So much headdesk over DePaul University senior Randy Vollrath’s “Consent the D” t-shirts, because while he claims the D sounds for DePaul (which, how does “Consent the DePaul make any sense? Try harder, bro), it reads more like he’s ordering people to consent to dick. Which isn’t the way to combat sexual violence.
BAMFs of the Week
- Celia Bullwinkel, the animator behind the short film “Sidewalks.”
- Lauren Boyle, the nine-year-old web designer who was just named the EU Digital Girl of the Year.
- This little girl who has NO patience for the random dude telling Halloween revelers that they’re going to Hell.
- There’s some interesting data in this study about how sexual fantasies differ between men and women, but I mostly want to laugh at the lead author’s statement that “Evolutionary biological theories cannot explain” why men fantasize about anal, sleeping with trans women, and watching their partner have sex with another man. Because pretty much all evolutionary biology/psychology theories boil down to “Men want to spread their seed as far as possible so they can prove they are manly men” and that’s bullshit modern thinking to try to excuse such behaviors.
- Merchandise featuring the white Disney princesses brings in far more money on eBay than the Jasmine and Tiana stuff, though of course it’s hard to parse out how much of the disparity is because Disney makes a lot more stuff for the white princesses and how much is about kids (or their parents) not having as much interest in the princesses of color.
- Hooray, a new study found that there’s no sexism in academic science! Women just choose to leave the field; sexism has nothing to do with it! P.Z. Myers and Emily Willingham explain why that’s utter horseshit.
- And eyerolls at Business Insider for trying to mansplain how women can be more attractive and claiming it was all based on science.
- Nicholas Kristof on the girls who are fighting against Backpage.com for allowing children to be pimped out on the site and for having policies that make it hard for police to find trafficked kids.
- How Brittany Maynard’s decision to take control of her body and life was a feminist act.
- A reminder that it’s still rape when a female teacher sleeps with an underage male student, not something worthy of high-fives.
- Why you’re a complete shithead if you dressed up as an ISIS militant for Halloween.
- People are apparently completely freaked out at the prospect of little boys dressing up as princesses or other female characters for Halloween.
- Zoe Quinn talks about how GamerGate has affected her life.
- Adam Savage of Mythbusters talks about the ridiculousness of GamerGate and how we need more women in science (but also addresses how his white male privilege can make it sound like he’s just spouting talking points to sound good, though he tries to back it up by working with women on his show).
- #Readergate applies GamerGate logic to literary criticism and the results are hilarious.
- Six things some people might not think are harassment, but they fucking are.
- Joss Whedon has some advice for fake feminist dudes (less talk, more action).
- The real sex talk we should all have with boys.
- Olivia Cole on why it’s anti-feminist to argue about whether Emma Watson is a better feminist than Beyoncé.
- Keira Knightley posed topless to make a statement about real unretouched bodies, since pictures of her have frequently been altered to make it look like she has much larger boobs. (NSFW pic at the link.)
- Chelsea Handler also posed topless this week, and was left questioning why it’s ok for world leaders to show their nipples to everyone, but when she makes a parody of Vladimir Putin sitting shirtless on a horse, Instagram takes it down for violating their guidelines. (This link’s SFW.)
- Dear Kate’s response to that stupid Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body” ad.
- American Eagle’s sales have gone up since they stopped airbrushing their Aerie models (though of course they’re still hiring young, thin, conventionally attractive women).
- Natalie Dormer on the need for more “young, female antiheroes” in pop culture.
- Here are the first six pages of a hypothetical Black Widow script, written by Nathan Edmondson (who wrote the Black Widow comic book).
- 15 female explorers you should know.
- GoldieBlox is back with an ad for their new Goldie action figure.