This Week in Misogyny

This Week in Misogyny Loves Feminism and SpaceX

About all I can say about this week is that it wasn’t quite as awful as last week. The French Open seems to be bringing out the worst in people, politicians continue to be idiots, and dress codes continue to be absurd. But at least we’re getting some cool LEGOs! (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)

There haven’t really been any new developments despite vows from Nigerian leaders to try to get back the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, but it’s depressing to realize that forcing the girls into marriage might not actually violate international law. Maybe we should get on that, and on figuring out how to rescue them.

Good news! Sudanese officials announced that they won’t be executing a woman after all who was convicted of apostasy for marrying an American and converting to Christianity. No word on whether they plan to follow through on her sentence of 100 lashes. She gave birth in prison last week.

An 18-year-old North Carolina man choked and beat his 17-year-old girlfriend nearly to death after they got into an argument over some tangled fishing line. She’s currently in a medically-induced coma.

A Pennsylvania man shot and killed his 9-month-pregnant girlfriend during an argument, though doctors were able to deliver the baby. He claims that he broke his shotgun in anger and then went to show her the barrel when it accidentally discharged in her face. Which sounds kinda improbable, and why was he going for his gun during an argument anyway? And he had previously told his landlords that he kept the ammo and gun in separate rooms.

An Ohio woman is suing a Cincinnati hospital and two of its employees who posted her personal details and STD diagnosis in a slut-shaming Facebook group after her ex-boyfriend convinced them to release her records.

Geeks for CONsent petitioned the organizers of Comic-Con International in San Diego to revise their vague anti-harassment policy to make it clear that harassing and groping women is unacceptable and to put up signs to ensure that the message gets through to people. SDCC replied nope, they have a policy, they don’t care if similar steps have been been embraced by other cons, and if they put up signs, people will think that sexual harassment is a big deal. IT IS!

I’m ridiculously psyched for the just-announced LEGO Research Institute sets with female scientist minifigures, which was submitted by Alatariel Elensar and voted on via the LEGO Ideas site. Look how cute they are!!

Terrible people of the week!

  • Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, a sexual assault prevention officer at Fort Hood, who was running a prostitution ring on base. One female soldier testified that he forced her to participate, while another alleged that he sexually assaulted her while trying to convince her to be a prostitute.
  • House Republicans, who blocked voting on a provision that would have allowed an incest exception in a bill blocking the use of federal funds to provide abortions to prisoners. As it stands, the only exceptions are rape and to save the life of the mother.
  • The Louisiana legislature, which just passed a bill that would prohibit doctors from removing life support from pregnant women if they’re beyond 20 weeks, even if their families ask for treatment to be withheld. The only exception is if people specifically write a “DNR while pregnant” provision into their will ahead of time. Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the bill into law.
  • Ohio State Rep. John Becker, who introduced a bill that would ban insurance companies from covering abortions and IUDs, because he’s another dim fucker who doesn’t understand that preventing implantation is not abortion because you aren’t pregnant until a fertilized egg implants. (He actually fucking said“This is just a personal view. I’m not a medical doctor.” Excuse me while my head explodes.) The bill also has no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, but at least he’ll let you terminate an ectopic pregnancy. Thanks, bro.
  • Youth E.D.G.E. Indy youth pastor Nate Utley, who made a “humorous” video for 7th graders that showed him beating girls for “breaking the rules” — which meant disrespecting him and forgetting to throw away a pizza box.
  • Kevin D. Williamson and The Chicago Sun-Times. Williamson for writing a factually incorrect transphobic screed; the Sun-Times for deciding to republish it from the National Review under the headline “Laverne Cox is Not a Woman” (though they’ve since taken it down and apologized).
  • Kirstie Allsopp, a British TV presenter, who said she’d advise her hypothetical daughter to skip going to college so she could go straight into the workforce, find a boyfriend, and “have a baby by the time [she’s] 27,” because “[n]ature is not a feminist” and otherwise it’ll be too late. Your ovaries don’t shrivel up and die on your 35th birthday! Not all women want kids! (Or boyfriends, for that matter.) Hadley Freeman does a delightful job of poking holes in her statement while pointing out why women seem more primed to be outraged over being told what to do than men are. And an eyeroll at Zoe Williams for saying that we shouldn’t talk about how Allsopp is full of shit because it violates the sisterhood or something. Look, there’s a difference between judging women if they choose to have kids young and go to school later, if at all (don’t do that) and judging women who say we should do that based on misinformation about fertility (be my guest!).
  • Sporting News, for this headline: “Taylor Townsend: Rising star brings weight to French Open.” And also for talking more about the 18-year-old tennis player’s weight during the article than about the fact that she kicked the ass of a few much more experienced players during the tournament. (They got in some digs at Serena Williams, too.)
  • Ernests Gublis, who when asked at the French Open whether his younger sisters would also pursue careers as professional tennis players replied that he hoped not “[b]ecause for a woman, it’s tough.” Also side-eye to the USA Today writer who tried to say that only sounded bad out of context and that his statement was better when you realized that he had gone on to say that women should “enjoy life” and “think about family” and having children. Not actually helping! And high fives to Maria Sharapova for basically calling him an idiot.
  • Officials at Menihek High School in Labrador, for sending home nearly 30 students for dress code violations that included visible bra straps and “excessive perfume.” Because kids don’t deserve to learn if they wear tank tops on the first warm day of the year! While a few boys were asked to change, most of the students sent home were girls, who reported that they’d been previously told by the school that they shouldn’t dress to distract boys. (Also, the plaid flannel tank top in the picture at the link is the most Canadian thing I’ve ever seen and I need one.)
  • Whichever Fox News writer who decided to take psychologist Brian Russell’s statement about the 12-year-old girls who tried to murder a friend in order to appease “Slender Man” and turn into the statement below. Which wasn’t even close to what he actually said, and wouldn’t have been true if he had said it.
Screengrab from Fox News in which the banner text at the bottom of the screen reads, "Dr. Russell: Girls more likely to have hateful little minds."
Screengrab from Fox News, via Slate

Massive eyerolls at Lana del Rey for this annoying bullshit:

For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested.

News flash! Those are not mutually exclusive interests and you aren’t better than us for thinking they are. I fucking love SpaceX and still have time to care about women!

More eyerolls at Quentin Letts for his handwringing in the Daily Mail about how ladies shouldn’t curse or men won’t respect them. Fuck you, buddy. (Though I’m with Holly Baxter in being really amused at the idea of Helen Mirren saying “fuck” in front of the queen.)

Our thanks to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for telling Arizona that they can’t implement a law that would effectively ban all medication abortions while a lawsuit is challenging its constitutionality.

Awesome! Medicare is now allowed to cover gender confirmation surgery for trans* individuals.

High fives to Lindsey Stocker, a 15-year-old student from Quebec who decided to address her school’s discriminatory dress code head on. Two vice principals subjected students to a fingertip test in front of their entire class and then told her she had to change because her shorts were too short. She refused even when they threatened to suspend her, then she put up signs around the school that read:


A tip of the trucker hat to Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind, for stopping a performance mid-song to curse out concertgoers who were inappropriately touching a teen girl while she crowdsurfed.

Study break!

  • A new report looks at six of the claims frequently used to justify banning sex-selective abortions; researchers found that they’re all wrong. (Some of them are also racist, since Asians in the U.S. actually have more girls than boys.)
  • Women experience far more street harassment than men, though gay, bi, and trans men also reported higher rates than straight men (and unsurprisingly, straight rich white dudes were harassed less than all the other groups). Sadly, the most surprising finding for me (and Jessica Valenti) was that 35% of women said they hadn’t been the target of catcalls or unwelcome touching. I don’t know where they live, but I want to go there.
  • A National Retail Federation survey found that Americans spend less on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day, which is making people freak out about how we don’t love our dads! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that products targeted to women tend to cost more? And that a lot of people are raised by single moms and so might not want to go all out for their dads? And that on average we get paid less and do more work so maybe just let us have this one fucking day without having to listen to whining about how it isn’t fair??
  • Stanford researchers figured out the genetic origins of blonde hair, and the media decided to take that and just talk about how the gene doesn’t also make blondes ditzy! So much side-eye.
  • OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. A study found that not only were fatalities higher between 1950 and 2012 when hurricanes had female names (even after taking out Kristina and Audrey because they were so awful that they’d have ruined the statistics), but that people are also less worried about hypothetical storms with female names. And no, this isn’t from The Onion, and yes, they did the math correctly (unlike some of their critics). (I especially enjoyed the part in the second article where the writer noted that so far as he’d seen, men were much more critical of the study than women were.) But at least it gave us this:

Recommended Reading

Did I miss anything you want your fellow Persephoneers to know about? Share in the comments!

By [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.

16 replies on “This Week in Misogyny Loves Feminism and SpaceX”

REALLY unpopular opinion: If it violates the dress code, it violates the dress code. The end. You are aware of the dress code from the day school begins (or before). If “measurement” has to happen, it should happen in private (nurse’s office or otherwise) but rules are rules. I get the idea that just “making up” the dress code because it’s “distracting” is wrong, but if your shorts obviously violate the dress code, then you shouldn’t wear them. It might be hot, but I’m going to assume the school building is air conditioned.

Curses, I tried to comment and it was eaten….. Anyway, the building might not be air conditioned. Ours wasn’t because we were in a historical building. It took forever just to get an elevator installed so that the place was handicap accessible everywhere.

But yes, she did know the dress code, and yes, the school should have handled it much, much differently.

Yeah, that school is up near the Arctic Circle, so I kinda doubt they have A/C. And it was the first warm day since last fall, so I imagine the kids didn’t remember the shorts rules all that precisely. I just hate the attitude that “your legs might distract someone, so you have to miss class and not learn anything today.”

I hate that attitude too, but I’m calling bs on the “didn’t remember the rules.” It’s the fingertip length rule. It’s not hard to remember. Rules are rules. And as long as they’re clear, not vague, and evenly applied, you have to follow them. It doesn’t matter HOW warm it is outside. And that extra inch off of denim material? It doesn’t keep you that much cooler.

Actually, I don’t know if that particular school did the fingertip rule, since most of the violations mentioned in the article were about showing their shoulders. The rule is pretty vague about how wide straps have to be (tank tops have to have a “thick strap that covers undergarments,” so you could have a top with wide straps and still have visible bra strap if they didn’t line up exactly) so it’s understandable that there would be room for misinterpretation.

And with shorts and skirts, it’s frequently not about the extra inch of denim making you too hot, rather about being able to find shorts that fit into the rules. My school was even stricter; we weren’t allowed to wear shorts at all (in Texas! in August!) until I was in junior high, and then the rule was that they could be not shorter than 2″ above the top of the kneecap. I was already 5’8″ and couldn’t find ANY shorts that long. Hell, even the ungodly mom jorts I wear now wouldn’t come anywhere near passing that rule (especially since they also measured in the back, which meant that having a butt could make you fail).

Unpopular Opinion: I am totally cool with sending kids home for wearing an excessive amount of scent! I’ve had kids spray themselves in the bathroom and stink up an entire classroom. Also, mandatory expulsion for sharing scented products because…um…allergies? It could be dangerous?
(This MAY be a bit hyperbolic, but for reals, 12 year olds do NOT pick the most subtle of scents. Although I guess it’s a good thing that they’re concerned about their stench? They just need to learn the difference between regular bathing/deodorant use and pouring on the Sun-Ripened Raspberry.)

The allergy thing and the overkill thing, I totally get. Maybe it would be quicker for teachers or the office to have unscented baby wipes around for that purpose, so they could at least do a quick swipe around their neck and such. Doesn’t help for what’s on their clothes, but it might lessen the stink a bit.

I used to put the scent in my hair. Actually, still do :). I think that part of the problem is that scent sensitivities are maybe an older person sort of thing? I feel like I see kids with all sorts of crazy food allergies, but I never see anything about scents on the medical info sheets.

I do take the opportunity when available to educate kids about appropriate scent etiquette: one quick spray is plenty, don’t apply in public places, and if for some reason you must apply in public, hold the device close enough that all the scent lands on you instead of the room.

‘And an eyeroll at Zoe Williams for saying that we shouldn’t talk about how Allsopp is full of shit because it violates the sisterhood or something. ‘

Huh. Someone just said something similar to me. I pointed out that MAYBE Twilight-hate, at least for some people, is rooted in misogyny more than literary sense. (Seriously, I doubt all the dudebros calling it crap even read it or, if they did, would understand why it’s crap) And then someone screamed at me that “A book isn’t good just because a woman wrote it” in a couple different ways. Sigh. I didn’t say that either.

To the part about awkward teen girls… Usually men will still say “It doesn’t matter if she’s unattractive, she can still probably find a guy.” It’s like they forgot this entire conversation started because they’re too shallow to find someone within their same looks-range as well.

That article about sneaky sexism in tech was pure magic. Thank you for posting that, and thanks for posting all these recaps!

Also, yay this is my first post on p-mag!


Yeah, it can be shitty that some people will give cookies to men who say the tiniest thing in support of women while absolutely eviscerating women who fuck up a tiny bit, BUT, that doesn’t mean we have to keep our mouths shut when women do really fucked things. It’s shitty feminism to insist all women make the same “feminist” choices, because then you’re taking away people’s agency, but it’s shittier to tell women they should just find a man and make babies, especially when it’s based on bad science.

And lord, I was SUCH an awkward teen/college student. Like, it was ridiculous how man-repellent I apparently was. It never would have occurred to me to go on a shooting rampage, but it didn’t exactly do wonders for my self-esteem either.

I’m an Air Force veteran, and my perspective on the Bowe Bergdahl situation is this: he’s an American soldier. He should be in the US. If he’s a deserter, he deserves a court-martial, not whatever fate the Taliban decides to inflict. If he’s not actually a deserter, just someone who didn’t fit in with his unit, he should be given the choice to complete his enlistment or go home. (And to have any medical conditions treated beforehand.)

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