IWD round-up from across the world

// 9 March 2008

Here’s some of the news stories from around the world on and around International Women’s Day…

Starting over in Jersey, there was a vigil for the victims at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home. It was designed to break:

“The culture of silence [that] prevents people from actually speaking and telling the truth, and saying how they feel about their government and the kind of government we should have.”

From BBC News

Obviously there are questions about the fact that people must have been told what had happened and had ignored children’s reports of gross abuse…

Meanwhile Phyllis Schlafly, leader of the Eagle Forum, a “pro-family” organization (because obviously feminists are anti-family) has condemned International Wome’s Day as advancing “radical” feminist intentions to destroy American life…

“The radical feminists want to remake our laws in order to eradicate everything that is masculine from our culture and create a gender-neutral society,” concluded Schlafly. “The United States should seriously reconsider lending its stamp of approval to future IWDs.”

From The Earth Times

How are feminists seeking to destroy society as we know it? By arguing for a womans right to control her own fertility, arguing that gay rights are human rights, that women should have equal rights with men, that they should also be able to access sports training, that they should be paid the same as men for equal work and that there should be affordable child care. Bring it on I say…

Talking of the world as we know it ending, Julie Bindel has been experiementing with high heels – and no it’s not April 1st..

High heels are supposed to make you look more elegant, improve your posture, provide that frisson of sexual excitement. Sorry to disappoint, but I feel as sexy as a dead rat.

From The Guardian

Meanwhile The Evening Standard carried an article about a campaign to stop a pole-dancing club in Acton. Charlotte Ross’s response – lets’s celebration pole-dancing so long as I can be a NIMBY and keep “my” area free of it. What’s interesting is while she claims Paul Raymond as a folk hero she entirely and completely fails to mention the women who work in the clubs – this is all about property and propreity.

She exoticises those areas which have sex performance clubs as scintillating, mysterious and exciting but with an absence of women except as exotic objects. And she problematises them by quite rightly pointing out the rise of reported rapes in areas with pole-dancing clubs and that clubs often allow, or turn a blind-eye to, prostitution on the premises

When I worked in Soho a couple of years back I enjoyed the way flickering neon signs in sex shop windows sat happily beside the area’s trendy cafés and boutiques. The district’s slight air of sleaze is what makes it appealing, even thrilling. You can walk right past live girls in doorways luring punters into dingy dives on your way to Piccadilly Tube.

From Evening Standard

Before you think this is a NIMBY quasi-feminist thing she also calls feminists “po-faced”.

As a welcome alternative, over at The Age there is coverage of why using porn isn’t a way of creating equality. Tracee Hutchinson argues that:

Being in control of debasing yourself or your gender doesn’t make it OK. Women have been commodified to such an extent that it’s not surprising so many of us can’t tell the difference.

From The Age

Additionally there is asome celebration of International Women’s Day over at Canada.com.

By the 1990s, a new generation of female activists, calling themselves “the third wave,” were clamoring to be heard, demanding more space at the table for other voices – immigrants and women of colour, lesbians, transsexual and transgendered people. And in an increasingly globalized economy and interconnected planet, activists in the West began to forge alliances with women in the developing world as they combatted discrimination, oppression, violence, and poverty.

From Canada.com

Meanwhile Kathryn Jean Lopez declares that Clinton’s defeat in the primaries will be the the end of feminism….

It would mark the end of the silly-women-talk on the national political scene. The beginning of female candidates running as candidates, without a heavy serving of identity politics…America is ready to quit this feminist silliness that men and women are equal, and that women don’t have different, natural responsibilities to the children they give birth to than men do.

From Townhall.com

As if to prove the point there is some coverage also of changing gender roles – apparently menget more sex if they do more housework. Far be it from me to point out that women feel sexier when they are less tired and haven’t spent all day in washing up and dirty clothes. And talking of feeling sexy, the Metro have, with amazed salaciousness found out that some women want no-strings sex sometimes.

Meanwhile in Iceland there are reports about how the Feminist Association of Iceland posters were graffitted with the word “Dyke” at the University of Iceland. Thankfully the article continues with more positive reflections on Icelandic Women. From the US Diary of an Anxious Black Woman reminds us that women’s issues are global.

Western feminists, MUST WE ALWAYS ASSUME THE MISSIONARY POSITION? (If you resist it in sex, I certainly urge you to resist it in global feminist organizing!)… Here’s my problem with the way that those of us in the U.S. construct what’s “foreign,” what’s “international,” indeed what constitutes a celebration and awareness of “international women’s day.” We tend to look at the world with “imperial eyes.”

From here

Taylor Marsh, meanwhile, has a round up on the UN statement for International Women’s Day and the international situation for women including Afghanistan, India, Trinidad, Thailand and the US. And Global Voices has translations of a poetry competition for the event. For more on International Women’s Day events around the world there are stories from Iraq, India, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. In the UK Gordon and Sarah Brown hosted a lunch which announced a mentoring scheme for women in business. Women will be asked to mentor teenagers and young women on three to six month placements. In Ireland, meanwhile, a sculpture to commemorate the 140 women who have been murdered since 1995 in abusive relationships.

So Happy International Women’s Day all, shame it all seems a bit, well, mixed. So lets end on a positive:

French Protest

The Banner reads “Feminism has never killed anyone, machismo kills every day”.

Comments From You

Feebs // Posted 9 March 2008 at 2:05 pm

““The radical feminists want to remake our laws in order to eradicate everything that is masculine from our culture and create a gender-neutral society,” concluded Schlafly.”

So women aren’t a gender? We’re ‘gender-neutral’?? I do so love it when these self-appointed guardians of common sense make such ridiculous soundbites!

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