Blog posts from May 2007

Any lawyers out there?

by Kate Smurthwaite // 31 May 2007, 13:47

I'm sadly not qualified myself, but I still can't help thinking that it's probably against the law in the UK to threaten MPs. If, for instance, I started telling MPs that unless they voted in Parliament the way I wanted...

Sexual Violence - resistance and reality

by Louise Livesey // 31 May 2007, 10:29

In 2000 the UN released it's Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and promised to achieve them by 2015. Now almost half way through that time there is some reviewing of the movement going on. "None of the Millennium Development Goals will...

Michelle Obama, wife of presidential candidate Barrack Obama, is under scrutiny (as all potential presidential wives are) as the US works it's way towards the next election. Here is a great analysis of why she isn't going to have an...

Big Brother is Now "Big Sister"

by Louise Livesey // 31 May 2007, 10:18

And we should apparently all rejoice at this. According to The Times: Big Brother returned in the form of a giant hen party last night when producers unveiled an all-female cast in an attempt to revive the tarnished brand. The...

Livejournal Targets Sexual Violence

by Louise Livesey // 31 May 2007, 09:14

The freedom online to portray and promote illegal sexual activity has long been a contentious issue as has where we draw the line between promoting the illegal and allowing space for fantasy. Now internet blog site Livejournal has been drawn...

Abortion around the world

by Barbara Felix // 30 May 2007, 21:56

There's a very good report in the May 19th edition of the Economist about abortion in an international context. It mentions the recent Irish case, whilst also mentioning that Mexico City has recently voted to legalise abortion. In China, meanwhile,...

Family Policy, German Style

by Barbara Felix // 30 May 2007, 21:32

Germany's family minister, Ursula von der Leyen, is aiming to increase nursery places in Germany to 750,000, to cover a third of Germany's under threes. The aim is to make it easier for mothers to work, and to encourage them...

Skin lighteners promise better jobs in India

by Jess McCabe // 30 May 2007, 17:46

Hawkers of racist, skin-lightening creams in India are now telling women that lighter skin will help them get ahead in their careers, reports the New York Times. Fair and Lovely, with packaging that shows a dark-skinned unhappy woman morphing into...

Shock news : Miss Universe degrades women

by Laura // 29 May 2007, 18:11

Miss Sweden has been pulled from the Miss Universe contest by the Miss Sweden organisers, who believe the parent contest is degrading to women. Apparently the Swedish contest is all good, however, as it scrapped its swimsuit competition and allowed...

Novel reveals plight of Afghan women

by Jess McCabe // 29 May 2007, 17:20

Just a quick book recommendation: go out and buy A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. Pick up his earlier book, The Kite Runner, at the same time. Hosseini is one of the most powerful novelists I've come across for...

Conference in Canada concludes Feminism isn't dead

by Louise Livesey // 29 May 2007, 12:25

Well I guess that's a relief. More Here....

Benetton uses domestic violence to sell clothes?

by Jess McCabe // 27 May 2007, 20:45

[UPDATE: Broadsheet is reporting that Benetton is denying having anything to do with these ads.] I'm a bit speechless about this one. Benetton has apparently released a series of at least three of these ads, "in the public interest". You...

Education, Education, Education

by Abby O'Reilly // 27 May 2007, 14:16

The above image was found on Reddit, courtesy of bemmu, and although mildly amusing, there is a serious message here boys and girls (and yes, you can stop sniggering in the back). Firstly, although it highlights the ignorance still...

Incarcerated? The last thing you want are tan lines

by Abby O'Reilly // 27 May 2007, 13:44

If you suddenly found yourself behind bars what would be your main priority? Would it be better food? Better living conditions? Ensuring you don’t get ensnared in a bitch fight so ferocious it would make the entire cast of...

From the pay gap to the Tardis

by Jess McCabe // 27 May 2007, 12:23

The American Association of University Women has posted a press release about a sex-discrimination case recently won by a geriatric physician at the University of California campus in Los Angeles. Among other things, Janet Conney's case uncovered the fact that...

How to Have a Baby Girl

by Holly Combe // 26 May 2007, 23:55

Tags: birth, gender stereotyping, motherhood

A recent interview on LK Today with a mother claiming to have successfully conceived a girl through the Shettles Method has given a depressing reminder of just how entrenched gender stereotypes still are. According to this woman, conceiving a...

Yes, it seems the Mirror found the sight of Beth Ditto and Kate Moss leaving a club in Los Angeles together shocking enough to be worthy of the scathing headline "Kate's Big Mates." According to the Mirror, hanging out with...

An unlikely anti-depressant?

by Abby O'Reilly // 26 May 2007, 20:22

As I carelessly breezed through cyber space this afternoon I happened across a gem of a story, which made me gag on my drink and orange juice come out of my nose. (A fact that will become more unpleasant...

Society founded to promote comics by black women

by Jess McCabe // 26 May 2007, 00:52

A new society has been formed to support black women comic creators. The Ormes Society is named after Jackie Ormes, who drew a comic strip for the Pittsburgh Courier called Torchy Brown in the 1930s. According to Wikipedia, the...

Big Brother bullying not racist, claims C4

by Jess McCabe // 25 May 2007, 15:09

Channel 4 is being forced to air three apologies for its handling of the racist bullying that took place on celebrity Big Brother, The Guardian reports. Aside from the appalling fact that the apologies will be shown before episodes of...

Our Heros - the movie they didn't make

by Kate Smurthwaite // 25 May 2007, 08:56

A very interesting Alternet article looks at the recent Department of Justice study in the US which shows that ex-servicemen commit rape and sexual assault at much higher rates than those who have not served. Funny how the homecoming scenes...

Amnesty Internation reports sexual violence is everyday...

by Louise Livesey // 25 May 2007, 08:40

Amnesty's recently published report on human rights worldwide has highlighted that sexual violence is common and everyday. Africa In Africa conflicts in central and east Africa (including Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia,...

New Blog

by Louise Livesey // 24 May 2007, 19:26

Feminist Philosphers blog - not as daunting as it first sounds, promise....

Immigration Services does it again...

by Louise Livesey // 24 May 2007, 19:11

Last year the parts of the Immigration Service which run immigrant detention centres were told to stop separating breast-feeding mothers from their babies. The previous cases were said to: "fly in the face of a number of UN resolutions and...

Scarleteen Sex Book

by Laura // 24 May 2007, 17:21

This book, written by the founder of US sex education website Scarleteen, looks to me like a must-read-and-pass-on-to-the-kids for any feminists worried about the state of sexual relations between young people, and I'm happy to put my head on the...

Strong women return to small screen

by Jess McCabe // 24 May 2007, 17:03

Prepare for square eyes. For once, those TV producers in the US are really spoiling us. The powers that be might have cancelled the Gilmore Girls and axed Veronica Mars, but there are some really interesting shows on the horizon....

Take a pill, never have a period again

by Jess McCabe // 24 May 2007, 16:35

A birth-control pill that completely gets rid of your period has been approved by the US authorities, reports CNN. While many women might be keen to throw out their tampons/pads/keepers, I'm not sure I really get the appeal of this...

What women (don't) want

by Kate Smurthwaite // 24 May 2007, 16:06

Imagine taking the very worst of those magazine's supposedly aimed at women and distilling it in a big vat of misogynist nonsense and then unloading it onto the web. Welcome to Jezebel, the new "women's" blog from Gawker. I think...

Women do better in their careers if they work for a firm where at least 30% of senior executives are female, The Guardian reports. The researchers at the London Business School argue that there is merit in introducing targets to...

EU calls for action on gender and disability

by Louise Livesey // 24 May 2007, 10:11

Full text of the new resolution is here....

Anonymity in Rape Case Early Day Motion

by Louise Livesey // 22 May 2007, 10:53

MP Harry Cohen has introduced an Early Day Motion (1082) pressing the government to protect anonymity in rape cases. So far there are only 16 signatures from other MPs (see list below). You can use this site to lobby your...

Fashion Industry Told to Grow Up

by Louise Livesey // 22 May 2007, 10:11

The Model Health Inquiry has told the fashion industry that it needs to: just grow up and accept that it is a real industry and to look after the health and safety of the people who work within it From...

Latest Carnival of Feminists out now

by Jess McCabe // 22 May 2007, 09:32

The latest Feminist Carnival is up over at Team Rainbow. As well as being impressively varicoloured, this festival is packed full of interesting stuff as usual. Check it out....

A strange combination - Joss Whedon on Dua Khalil

by Louise Livesey // 22 May 2007, 08:54

It's a strange thing to write about a comic-book writer turned TV phenomenon writing about women's rights. Particularly when that writer is as controversial as Joss Whedon, feted by some for portrayals of strong women characters and critiqued by others...

Invisible Women

by Louise Livesey // 21 May 2007, 08:55

Despite the many gains in recent years in the film industry - women directors are still absent at the Cannes Film Festival. So much so that Jane Campion this year brought an allegorical film about how the film industry treats...

Feminist opera to hit London

by Jess McCabe // 19 May 2007, 17:57

A feminist opera composed by a suffragette is to get its first West End run in over 50 years. According to the production company, The Boatswaine's Mate, by Ethel Smyth, involves: A feisty heroine – supposedly based on Emmeline Pankhurst...

Hotel opens women only floor

by Louise Livesey // 19 May 2007, 13:01

The Marriott chain are testing the idea of a women only floor in their Michigan hotel. The segregated space has improved security (yah-hay), fresh flowers (erm OK) and upgraded toiletries (yeah because that's important), softer blankets, safes for jewelry (or...

A few wider news stories

by Louise Livesey // 19 May 2007, 11:50

Whilst not entirely gender focussed there are a couple of headlines of note: The Prime Minister has refused to rewrite the guidance on blood donations to stop discrimination against gay and bisexual men. Because a third to half of the...

Rape Victim should have been "grateful for the attention"

by Louise Livesey // 19 May 2007, 11:32

A defence barrister is today under pressure after comments made in court. Shellagh Davies said of the 16 year old gang rape victim (where the rape was videoed on the 13 year old attackers mobile phones) that because she was...

The Independent Midwives Association (IMA) has reported that the Government is intending to pass legislation to make professional indemnity insurance (PII) a prerequisite for registration. However, there is actually no PII available to independent midwives. This ultimately means they will...

Persepolis - the animation

by Jess McCabe // 18 May 2007, 20:29

Someone has made Persepolis, the graphic novel about cartoonist Marjane Satrapi's early life in Iran, into an animation. It's in French, but this trailer still gives a flavour of how promising this looks: (via Drawn)...

Newspaper Pulp

by Kate Smurthwaite // 18 May 2007, 08:36

Those F Word readers living in London will not have missed yesterday's copy of The London Paper which ran with the headline "'RAPE' GIRL GRATEFUL FOR SEX, SAYS LAWYER". Yes I know... And the article goes on to back up...

You Tube Round Up

by Louise Livesey // 17 May 2007, 12:19

Some Feminism related clips from You Tube Which continues into this one And this one: Another Def Poetry entry here: And one on asian identity and take over (I have to admit finding this one absolutely brilliant!) Yeah OK so...

It rather speaks for itself but...

by Louise Livesey // 17 May 2007, 12:13

I felt this was worth reproducing over here, if only for the chuckles. With thanks to this site...

Women on the web, but absent from computing industry

by Louise Livesey // 17 May 2007, 10:54

Just to complete a hat-trick of geeky entries, the BBC are reporting that women outnumber men in internet use. Apparently young women (18-34 years) are now the most populous British users of the web, accounting for 18% of all...

Is your G-spot big enough?

by Jess McCabe // 16 May 2007, 22:56

A California doctor is offering to inject collagen into your G-spot to increase sexual pleasure, for only $1,800 a pop. That's £600. Reports NBC: According to thegshot.com, the G-SHOT is a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily augment the...

Johnson goes ahead with books for boys plan

by Jess McCabe // 16 May 2007, 21:27

Remember Alan Johnson's plan to establish a special shelf for "boy's books" in all school libraries? Back in March I pointed out that it would risk reinforcing all those tired gender stereotypes we know and love. Well, I guess the...

And as if Marvel hadn't been offensive enough...

by Louise Livesey // 16 May 2007, 21:15

Meet Marvel's new villain, Lady Ultron. Apparently she's a robot. And she doesn't feel the need for clothing (or at least the artist doesn't - perhaps he missed that lesson at art school?) OK so, she's naked and it's not...

How Do We Deal With FGM?

by Kate Smurthwaite // 16 May 2007, 07:40

As Louise blogged, there is a rather shocking video out which you can download from IRIN News, the video is linked on the right hand sidebar. It shows how widespread the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) still is and...

Comic Fans, Spiderman 3 and feminist ire

by Louise Livesey // 15 May 2007, 23:41

To celebrate the launch of Spiderman 3 Marvel released a series of statuettes for collectors. Including this one of Mary Jane (Peter Parker's wife for the uninitiated). Here's a piccie (the one on the left): From BoingBoing Needless to say...

Female Genital Mutilation

by Louise Livesey // 15 May 2007, 11:50

Here is a video by the UN about Female Genital Mutilation. In parts it is disturbing watching but it is very, very interesting watching. Spot lights on Sierra Leone and Ethiopia....

The Best Way to Beat Objectification - do it yourself...

by Louise Livesey // 15 May 2007, 10:25

In the rush to convince us that we are in a post-feminist era, clothing designers have decided to get in on the act. And why not - us "post-feminist" (/end irony/) women have more disposable income now because of all...

The Times reports that ministers committed to the Breastfeeding Manifesto are pushing for women's right to breastfeed in public to be protected by law. Or rather, it reports that Women may get right to breastfeed in public, misleadingly implying that...

Just a quick one ...

by Lynne Miles // 14 May 2007, 19:28

For a really excellent medically-based point of view about why the American debate on partial birth abortion is a nonsense, see Good Enough Mum: This is not about being for or against abortion. It is not about saving fetuses, because...

Ever seen this on the London Tube?

by Laura // 14 May 2007, 16:33

Imagine my delight when I jumped on the Santiago metro last week to find the train lined with pro-equality advertisements! The adverts are part of a campaign by the Chilean government's 'National Service for Women', SERNAM, to promote equality...

Nintendo targets Japanese mums

by Jess McCabe // 13 May 2007, 12:53

Forget flowers and cards, in Japan many mothers will be waking up to receive a games console today, reports Wired. With Mother's Day fast approaching, Tokyo's subways and billboards are plastered with advertisements for chocolate and flowers. But one of...

Sex by deception wasn't rape - US court

by Jess McCabe // 12 May 2007, 18:45

A Massachusetts court has ruled that rape can only be rape if it involves force, not fraud, reports ABC News. The case involved a man who tricked a woman into having sex with him by pretending to be his brother...

First Carnival of Radical Feminists

by Jess McCabe // 12 May 2007, 17:49

The first ever carnival of radical feminists has been published over at Women's Space/The Margins. Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff goes into a long and detailed explanation of exactly what she thinks radical feminism is, and why we need a carnival dedicated...

Doll Face

by Louise Livesey // 12 May 2007, 12:42

YouTube provides interesting fodder sometimes (for anyone who hasn't already seen it the "Fat Rant" is another example). Today's offering was Doll Face. An interesting view on the unattainability of beauty in a media age and much kudos to the...

Europe has less female bosses than Americas

by Jess McCabe // 11 May 2007, 17:53

Women in both North and South America have made greater inroads into legislative and management positions than us here in Europe, EUObserver reports. The figures come from the International Labour Organization (who confound us by using the US spelling of...

Rights for the most marginal?

by Louise Livesey // 9 May 2007, 20:17

Two stories about the right to control women's bodies make for interesting reading today. In the US the hysterectomy and continuing hormone treatment of a disabled girl has been deemed illegal and in Ireland a teenage girl in care has...

Patrick Moore should stick to the stars

by Louise Livesey // 9 May 2007, 20:00

Why, oh why, is an 84 year old astromer reported as having any notion of contemporary cultural mores? Can anyone tell me? This week it is reported Moore has been caught blaming women for falling standards in British TV. His...

Verizon Wireless has just pulled a sponsorship deal for Gwen Stefani's new tour rumoured to be worth $3million. The reason? Her supporting act, Akon, was caught on film "dry humping" a 14 year old in dubious circumstances in a club...

Pregnant? If not, why not?

by Abby O'Reilly // 9 May 2007, 16:07

Many consider that men are biologically predisposed to spread their seed as far and wide as they can, the contents of their underpants being emptied as spontaneously and unexpectedly as a summer shower, often catching us out unexpectedly. For...

Polish politician proposes mini-skirt ban

by Jess McCabe // 9 May 2007, 15:25

A Polish legislator has proposed a ban on mini-skirts, heavy makeup and see-through or low-cut blouses - in a bid to tackle prostitution, reports Spiegel Online. Incredibly, Artur Zawisza, a Catholic member of the "Right of the Republic" party (Prawica...

Comments for April!

by Jess McCabe // 9 May 2007, 12:48

Comments received during the month of April went online last night. Theadora Jean's feature on Britney Spears stirred up most controversy this time, with some readers expressing their sympathy for the pop star, while others contended that she has not...

Pornographers Gone Wild

by Kate Smurthwaite // 9 May 2007, 10:39

The latest far-from shocking news to hit the blog-o-sphere is that some of the women featured in the (otherwise extremely high-quality...no really) show "Girls Gone Wild" were co-erced into participation. The more astute of us might have argued we could...

Gay Power - but only if you're male

by Louise Livesey // 8 May 2007, 17:54

The Independent on Sunday published it's Pink Power list at the weekend. Of the 101 nominated people for being successes "key to British life" only 16 are women (and the highest placed is at number 18) and only one of...

Review of Chilean version of Observer Woman

by Jess McCabe // 8 May 2007, 11:16

Women in Chile: Moving towards equality (but only if you look the part) Chile's Mujer magazine is a bizarre juxtaposition of all that's best in women's journalism and all that's worst in advertising, finds Laura Comments for April will go...

Back in March, director of the NGO Women for Women International, Manal Omar, was publicly humiliated by a male member of the Oxford fitness club she was swimming at after he took offence at her five piece swimsuit. The swimsuit...

Multiculturalism and Women

by Louise Livesey // 6 May 2007, 17:02

The Independent on Colcatta raises this debate again, but with new cases. The article relates the problem of when multiculturalism is seen as an excuse for gendered racism. For example take the case of Nishal, a 26 year old Moroccan...

Raise age of consent for porn to 21?

by Jess McCabe // 6 May 2007, 16:43

Now that porn is edging into the mainstream, the age of consent for appearing in porn should be raised from 18 to 21, argues Garance Franke-Ruta in the Wall Street Journal. The idea has partly been conceived of in response...

Google search reveals bias towards he over she

by Jess McCabe // 5 May 2007, 17:38

Hoyden About Town has posted a really interesting entry on the proportion of mentions of the words she and he on feminist blogs and political party websites. Click over there for a full list, and then head over to this...

Pass the bucket...

by Kate Smurthwaite // 5 May 2007, 16:12

...and not so I can put my £5 in it - so I can puke! Today's question: Is Stripping Feminist?. And today's answer is: No. Or possibly Oh Please - How Can We Still Be Having This "Debate"? If you...

While I hesitate to criticize any efforts to promote condom use and safe sex, these ads are just really annoying. Who made them? I'm not sure. The production values are great. Efforts to aim this at an age group that's...

Karnataka women banned from night shift

by Jess McCabe // 4 May 2007, 18:12

Women are to be banned from working the night shift in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, if the government gets its way, reports the Deccan Herald. Local blogger Apu, who is behind the brilliant Cubically Challenged, gives full vent...

How to achieve pay equity in five steps

by Jess McCabe // 4 May 2007, 17:57

KnowHRBlog has come up with a list of five steps to close the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. Aimed at human resources professionals, what is most interesting to me is that the list only starts with...

At least she’s decorative

by Lynne Miles // 4 May 2007, 17:54

It’s irritating how, when women strive for public office there seems to be as much attention paid to their hairstyles, outfits and shoes as there is to their policies and, you know, things that matter. The sort of things they...

Attacks motivated by gender and sexual orientation could soon be added to US federal legislation on hate crime, after the Senate passed a bill to extend the current law, reports SignOnSanDiego.com. But don't hold your breath, because the White House...

New features! New reviews!

by Jess McCabe // 3 May 2007, 16:28

This months features and reviews went up last night - well, most of them did: A hairy dilemma Women are signed up at puberty for a lifetime of relentless hair removal. But, asks Emma Chaplin, if the alternative is pariah...

Latest Carnival of Feminists out now!

by Jess McCabe // 3 May 2007, 16:16

The latest Carnival of Feminists is up now at KitKat Critique. It's a mammoth issue this time round: I've only had a quick skim, but this post on the real cost of childcare in London at The Wood Vale Diaries...

Rape Sentencing Guideline

by Louise Livesey // 3 May 2007, 09:38

The definitive version of the Sentencing Guideline Council's work on the 2003 Sexual Offences Act is now available and, as expected, is self-contradictory. The document acknowledges that sexual crimes against children are to be seen as automatically more serious 2.8...

New Guest Blogger: Kate Smurthwaite

by Jess McCabe // 3 May 2007, 09:12

This month, stand up comic Kate Smurthwaite is going to be joining the regular crew of F Word bloggers to contribute a guest column. You can read more about her here. Kate also maintains her own blog at Cruella-Blog, so...

An F Word podcast? We need your input!

by Jess McCabe // 2 May 2007, 19:28

We've been mulling over the idea of starting up a semi-regular podcast here at The F Word for a couple of months now. I love podcasts, but there don't seem to be any decent feminist shows out there: so it...

Danish teachers judge student strip contest

by Jess McCabe // 2 May 2007, 15:47

Students of a Danish secondary school perform an annual strip tease competition for teachers - and the winners get to sit in the best seats in the canteen. The Metro reports that the competition is provoking "outrage" among education chiefs,...

Latest Carnival Against Sexual Violence up now

by Jess McCabe // 2 May 2007, 15:29

Go read the latest Carnival Against Sexual Violence at abyss2hope....

Birds Eye View Films seeks Volunteers

by Louise Livesey // 2 May 2007, 11:37

BIRDS EYE VIEW FILM FESTIVAL NEEDS YOU! We're over our post fest burn out and we're in need of a fresh injection of energy here at BEV HQ. We're after administrators to keep the office in order, programmers to bring...

As The F Word reported last month, women in the UK may be facing a future of limited access to abortion due to a shortage of doctors trained in this area. Medical blogger Dr Crippen argues that the answer to...

Reclaiming The F-Word

Founder of The F-Word, Catherine Redfern, has co-authored a new book with Kristin Aune. Find out more at the Reclaiming The F-Word website.

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