#womenwrites: misogyny, women blaming, women shaming, and racism

An open letter on the Hypatia controversy via @FeministCurrent

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern and outrage over both the recent demand for the retraction of Rebecca Tuvel’s article, “In Defense of Transracialism,” which was published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy on March 29th, and Hypatia’s temporarily acquiescing to this demand by removing the article in its online form for a period of time.

The open letter to Hypatia (published on April 30), which garnered over 800 signatures of academics from universities within the US and elsewhere, in addition to a handful of writers, was a mean-spirited mischaracterization of a scholar’s work that was conspicuously lacking in any attempt to engage with the primary argument offered therein. Instead, the letter demanded a retraction based on spurious and, in some instances, demonstrably wrong assertions regarding the content of the work. We agree with Jessie Singal’s overall assessment in his article, “This Is What a Modern Day Witch Hunt Looks Like,” and we share his suspicion that despite calling for its retraction, many of the signatories had not read Tuvel’s article before adding their names to the letter. In fact, one must wonder if some of the signatories had even read the open letter to Hypatia given the petition’s absolute defiance to critical inquiry and academic deliberation. …

Nothing says misogyny like defining feminism as equality for all, by Marcie Bianco  via @qz

The women’s movement has an “equality” problem.

Last semester, I asked my college students to define “feminism.” Everyone bandied about the word “equality”—“equality for women,” “equality for all genders,” “equality in the workplace.” But the class grew quiet when I asked what equality meant, and what it looked like. The word has become an empty signifier, underlying a larger definitional problem in regards to the mainstream women’s movement.

My students knew that strict hiring quotas aren’t an effective, long-term solution to sexism, just as they understood that equality under the law does not ensure the equal treatment of women. In New York City, for example, women can legally walk around topless, but not one of my female students said they would ever take advantage of this legal equality—they didn’t want to risk harassment or assault. …

Tiffany Dufu’s ‘Drop the Ball’: Women Blaming Themselves, Again via @LucyAllenFWR

A quick post, in irritation. Today, I read in the Guardian that women should expect more of their partners, and less of themselves. Not terrible advice (though not really a revelation either). The article is a puff piece for a book I never plan to buy, written by new mother and bringer of epiphanies to the oblivious, Tiffany Dufu. In her book, so we are told, Dufu describes her revelatory experience navigating the return to work after her first child’s birth, and her growing realisation that her partner would have to do some of the work around the home, since they both had full time jobs. The experience that brought on this revelation sounds depressingly familiar. Back from a full day of work, while struggling with breastfeeding difficulties, Dufu heard her husband return home to the meal she had prepared, past the dry-cleaning she had picked up, only to dump his dirty plates in the sink for her to clean. …

How academia uses poverty, oppression, and pain for intellectual masturbation by By Clelia O. Rodríguez http://buff.ly/2rtRUWJ

The politics of decolonization are not the same as the act of decolonizing. How rapidly phrases like “decolonize the mind/heart” or simply “decolonize” are being consumed in academic spaces is worrisome. My grandfather was a decolonizer. He is dead now, and if he was alive he would probably scratch his head if these academics explained  the concept to him.

I am concerned about how the term is beginning to evoke a practice of getting rid of colonial practices by those operating fully under those practices. Decolonization sounds and means different things to me, a woman of color, than to a white person. And why does this matter? Why does my skin itch when I hear the term in academic white spaces where POC remain tokens? Why does my throat become a prison of words that cannot be digested into complete sentences? Is it because in these “decolonizing” practices we are being colonized once again? …

Child abductions and torture: Northern Uganda’s forgotten war by Karen Williams  via @WritersofColour

Uganda’s north was the inexplicable war that I first heard about during my London days in the early 1990s.  Reporting on it from Britain, it seemed an unfathomable conflict: bands of children marauding through the countryside, killing people, setting buildings and refugee camps alight and kidnapping other children.

Years later I made my way to Kampala, but there were no explanations there, either: after President Yoweri Museveni ended his war against the previous Ugandan government in 1985, Ugandans outside of the north benefitted from the dividends of peace and the country boomed.  And for many of them, the northern war was elsewhere, over there: the Acholi people were seen as largely animist people with strange customs, who couldn’t rein in their fellow Acholi, Joseph Kony, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  The northern Ugandan war went on for more than two decades, invisible to all but its victims. I spent years in northern Uganda, following the LRA war, drawn back again and again. It was another trail in a lifetime of following mass atrocities and broken children. …

 

What’s your number – an interesting take on consent

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 14.50.34What’s your number is a typical asinine rom-com starring Anna Faris as Ally Darling and Chris Evans as Colin Shea. The simple premise is Darling discovering that the number of sexual partners she has had (19) makes her a slut – as evidenced in a “women’s magazine” she read after being fired from her job. So, with the help of deeply slimy neighbour Shea, Darling tracks down all her ex-boyfriends to see which one should be her partner for life. Because there is a magic number of men that having sex with  would make her even more of a slut than she actually is. Shea is an unemployed musician who has sex with a different woman every night and spends his mornings hiding in Darling’s apartment so the (many) woman will leave his apartment without anything creepy like having a conversation. Strangely, at no point do we ever hear Shea’s sexual history being as being slutty.

And, yes, by know you are all wondering why I continued watching the film. As did I.

But, somewhere in this film about a woman freaking out over other women calling her a slut, believing she is a slut, an unpleasant mother whining about her daughter not having enough ‘class’, and the useless father, there is seen involving consent discussed appropriately. Obviously, and this needs no spoiler warning, Shea falls in love with Darling (and eventually she with him once she gets over silly things like being able to pay the rent) and they end up almost having sex. Despite being an utter shite in his treatment of women as sex objects, when Darling says no Shea accepts it. There is some silliness about how much of a penis in a vagina constitutes sex but that is a clearly a joke.

There is no coercion. No attempts to convince Darling. She says no. He stops.

The director chooses to ruin this demonstration of consent but having some  dude from 20 years rock up to tell Darling they never had sex so actually she’s not really a mega slut having gone over 20 partners (and no recognition that sex she cannot remember will have made her too drunk to consent).

The film is pretty much the essence of shaming women for having sex with multiple partners. Yet the only actual sex scene in the film involves a discussion of consent that is real and clear. It is a weird juxtaposition.The film is utterly tedious and probably shouldn’t ever be watched ever again. By anyone.

#MakingWorkVisible for #IWD2017

https://storify.com/LeStewpot/makingworkvisible-for-iwd2017

#womenwrites (12.11)

Get Your People at Crunk Feminist Collective

About the ‘Left’ and its Discontents in These Perilous Times  via @sunnysingh_nw3

It’s too soon for you by Talat Yaqoob

Make no mistake – Donald Trump’s victory represents a racist “whitelash” by Maya Goodfellow

White women sold out the sisterhood and the world by voting for Trump.  via @doublexmag

After the election of Donald Trump, we will not mourn. We will organize | Gloria Steinem

“On ‘Woke’ White People Advertising their Shock that Racism just won a Presidency” by Courtney Parker West

7 Women Besides Susan B. Anthony Whose Graves Deserve “I Voted” Stickers at Bustle

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Medieval Literature, Cambridge, and Leonard Cohen  via @LucyAllenFWR

Equal Rights; Different Needs   by Polly Neate

Breaking the Cycle: the challenges of parenting after an abusive childhood  via @WomanAsSubject

If women aren’t a class, there’s no such thing as radical feminism by Cherry Blossom Life

Bounty should be banned from maternity wards by @lisaaglass

The Importance of Conversations and Community by @jendella
via @WritersofColour

#womenwrites (7.11.16)

The Historian’s Altmetrics: How can we measure the impact of people in the past? by Dr. Michelle Morovac

With Brexit the Tories have made sure we all have egg on our faces via by Kiri Kankhwende @WritersofColour

For the White Woman Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend: A Black Feminist Guide to Interracial Solidarity by @ClaireShrugged

Feminism, pornography and lots of crying in the loos: Lennie Goodings reflects on 43 years of Virago 

National Treasure at Rape Crisis Scotland

End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House | Barbara Kingsolver

One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: “It ruined my life forever” by Rahila Gupta

Feminism and the Social Model of Disability by Heather Downs

The Stunning Literariness of Solange by Panashe Chigumadzi

Tattooing your name on your partner’s forehead is an act of control, not devotion  by @glosswitch

For the White Woman Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend: A Black Feminist Guide to Interracial solitary  by @ClaireShrugged

How ‘sex work’ killed the victim by RAQUEL ROSARIO SANCHEZ

The short list for the Zero Tolerance Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award. via @WritetoEndVAW

#womenwrites

If Keith Vaz paid for sex, his prostitution report is biased and worthless by @bindelj

I’m sick of living in a culture that tolerates violence against women | Joan Smith

Why I was wrong about men by Suzanne Moore

White Feminist Fatigue Syndrome  via @critlegthinking

Passing Moments via @Carregonnen

Men Don’t Have Periods – Women Do by Samantha Rea

Being Told You Have Gender Dysphoria as a Lesbian at Nymeses

An Attitude About Gratitude: On Colin Kaepernick, Paul Finebaum, & What Black People Do Not Owe America @writermrsmith

Understanding Disability: Like me, you are different. Like you, I am equal by @mailbykite via @WritersofColour

‘Baby Brain’ and Other Myths by @jendella via @WritersofColour

I chose radical feminism over my porn-using boyfriend and got my humanity back by Rose Meltzer  via @FeministCurrent

Why I won’t be returning to teach in the classroom by Gurmeet Kaur http://buff.ly/2cu9JhF via @WritersofColour

#womenwrites – a collection of essential writing by women

All Bodies are Beautiful by @MurderofGoths

When words fail by @Durre_Shahwar

My self (at 35) by @reimaginingme

“Not All Men? Well, actually…” by Alicen Grey

The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit | Katrina Karkazis

Black women and the accusation of taking up too much space by  Bridget Minamore

Stop Close Reading by Heather Horn

The Women in My Family Had to Be Good With Money  by Dena Landon

The chore wars by Alecia Simmonds

The sex trade can never be legalised without hurting women – by Kat Banyard

Men hate us by Purple Sage Feminist

“You throw like a girl”  A brief guide to  gender policing  via @WomanAsSubject

It’s Not the ‘Gender Pay Gap’ – It’s the Maternal Income Gap  via @VOlorenshaw

Race/Class/Gender: French secularism and Whiteness  by @saramsalem

More practice, less perfect: How do we navigate the lion’s den of feminist discussions? by Andie Fox

#womenwrites – a collation of essential writing by women

A collation of brilliant writing by women

https://storify.com/LeStewpot/womenwrites-57797ddcd22ef3dc5d0b0549

#womenwrites for February 2016

https://storify.com/LeStewpot/womenwrites-56d20f5013a582ef26cd2310

What about the other children? – on racism and classism in schools

Mother Jones has published an extremely problematic article on integration in schools, which talks of the benefits to middle and upper class children, without once recognising the impact on Black and Latino children. These are the 3 outcomes which ‘prove’ that integrated schools are better for white children:

1. White students’ test scores don’t drop when they go to schools with large numbers of black and Latino students.

2. Diverse classrooms teach some of the most important 21st-century skills, which matter more than test scores.

3. Graduates of socioeconomically diverse schools are more effective in the workplace and global markets.

The second and third point state that it is better for white children to be exposed to Black and Latino children and those living in poverty because it will make middle and upper class white children to be better and more successful people. Apparently, raising children to be kind, compassionate and responsible is no longer necessary. Now, we just need to teach them how to talk to Black and Latina kids so they will feel more comfortable being their boss in twenty years.

Comparisons between race and gender make me deeply uncomfortable as they are inevitably comparing Black men to white women – completely erasing Black women’s experiences of misogyny and racism. In this case, there is a valid comparison to be made about the rhetoric of single sex schools.

Evidence suggests that girls perform better at single sex schools. These tend to be private schools and, in the UK, tend to be predominantly white and wealthy, which does impact on attainments. Boys do better in mixed sex schools.* The argument for mixed schools requires girls in order to socialise boys and improve their academic records. The implicit message here is that the education of boys is more important than girls so it’s okay to force girls to deal with sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour from male students. Boys aren’t held accountable for their own behaviour; parents aren’t held accountable for raising entitled sons with serious behavioural problems;** and schools aren’t held accountable for their misogynistic practises. Girls are treated as nothing more than tools in the education of boys; no different from computers and chalk.

This article published by Mother Jones treats Black and Latino children as teaching tools for white, middle class children. There is no real mention of the academic achievement of these students and the impact caused by the daily micro-aggressions of a white supremacist, capitalist-patriarchy. It ignores the systemic racism and classism in American culture which sees schools in lower economic areas and those with predominately Black and Latino students receiving less funding. There’s no mention of cuts to arts and music that disproportionately impact ‘bad’ schools – cuts that have serious negative impacts on children’s academic achievements and emotional health. It ignores the number of children going to school hungry because of economic policies which punish families who don’t have trust funds. And aren’t white.

The argument for diverse schools works only if we treat ALL children as worthy of an education and emotional health. Sending white children to predominantly Black and Latino schools to make white children ‘better’ people is racism. It erases Black and Latino children as people; just as the rhetoric around mixed schools holds girls accountable for the behaviour of boys.

We need greater investment in schools to support all children; not use them as specimens in petrie dishes to promote the welfare and entitlement of white, wealthy children at the expense of everyone else.

*I’ve not seen research on this which accounts for class and race in attainment since teachers are not immune from white supremacist thinking and it is clear that many teachers expect better results from white children and mark poor children and children of colour lower than white, wealthy children.

** This point is about neurologically typical children and not a reference to children with additional support needs who find schools difficult spaces to navigate.