Some news stories…

// 5 August 2008

smash the patriarchy I couldn’t decide between “some news stories you might have missed” and “some news stories to make you blood boil” so settled on “some news stories…” and you can complete as you wish. Gold stars for the best endings in the comments….

First up, UK news – an ex-chief superintendent of the Humberside Police force has been found guilty of incestuous sexual assault and rape. I don’t think I need to say more on this other than how amazingly courageous the woman was to report this. The attacks lasted over ten years and the man was also found to have made contact with other paedophiles over the internet. Friends in high places and all that..

Talking of the Police, how’s this for transphobia (also from the UK), in the case of the murder of transsexual Kellie Telesford the defending barrister, Joanna Greenberg, came out with this gem:

“While we are referring to her as a female out of courtesy because that is how she wanted to be known. She was nevertheless a male with a man’s strength and you would have thought that she, as a victim, would have fought her attacker but there was no signs.”

BBC News

The defence are maintaining (simultaneously) that is was 1. a sex game gone wrong, 2. the injuries were self-inflected. Doesn’t explain why the defendant stole her phone, Oyster travel card and electronic equipment mind…. Reminds me of this case in the US too. Meanwhile Feminist Philosophers, following the transgender toilet at Pride incident (and others), tells us about third gender toilets in Thailand.

Over in the US it seems speaking out against sexist = killing your own career if Katherine Heigl and the threats against her are to be believed. Which may be what is meant by “an inner glass ceiling” which is the current popular explanation for why women aren’t in top jobs. Glad to see that old chestnut of it being our own fault is still kicking around.

Of course it doesn’t apply to men, Martin Bashir has been made to apologise after sexist comments at an event for US journalists. He is reported to have said “I am happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes…In fact, I’m happy that the podium covers me from the waist down.” and

Bashir went on to say a speech should be “like a dress on a beautiful woman – long enough to cover the important parts and short enough to keep your interest – like my colleague Juju’s”.

From BBC News

Feministing is also highlighting this montage about Disney and masculinity which is worth a viewing.

Elsewhere however it has been realised that there are declining numbers of women in employment in the US and that it might be connected to economic factors and not biological ones.

“When we saw women starting to drop out in the early part of this decade, we thought it was the motherhood movement, women staying home to raise their kids,” said Heather Boushy, the senior economist at the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, to the The New York Times. “We did not think it was the economy, but when we looked into it, we realized that it was.”

From Feminist Majority Foundation

Meanwhile the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published their report on Engaging and Empowering Women in Poverty which includes the radical suggestion that “Government should increase the opportunities for women living in poverty to engage directly with policy-makers, to design and deliver more efficient policies which truly address their needs.”.

Also in the news, the US Government Accountability Office have released a report on sexual violence against domestic workers by diplomats. What’s worrying is there was enough of this to full a report! Wonder when the UK will follow suit and ‘fess up to the stuff it’s diplomats and soldiers (whilst we’re at it) do abroad. And also at the Feminist Majority Foundation is coverage of the story that poverty and hopelessness are driving Afghan women to prostitution. We covered something similar here. Which leads to’s interesting excerpt from a book on sexual slavery, here.

This video of Noam Chomsky on pornography is also doing the rounds – it has some great responses to well-worn arguments for those who want a crib sheet.

And Feminist Allies is highlighting the work of The Body Positive around body issues. Also this week Stonewall have released their report into how the NHS can better serve lesbian and bisexual women in their health services. Prescription for Change is available here. Some good news at last. But then you consider that Ohio is planning a male veto in abortion law and the heart just sinks again. Oh and pharmaceutical companies are arguing there isn’t a market for a male birth control system according to this article at Pandagon. And, surprise surprise, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is anti-contraception, or at least he can’t remember if he is or not….

So. John McCain is so opposed to contraception he voted against requiring insurance plans to cover it like other drugs, and either so indifferent to women’s health and rights or just so out of it he doesn’t even remember how he voted. That’s the way to show American women you really care.

From The Nation

Hat tip to Hoyden about Town for the top image and this one from a face-cream advertiser in days of yore, for really there is “nothing so sad and ridiculous as a shiny-nosed girl trying to be a charmer”

how to get your man

And this has been produced in response to the New Yorker/Michelle Obama cartoon thing a while ago

One is Ironic.

And further to this on DeBeers and tribalism Penny Red highlights this from Britain’s Next Top Model.

tribal misuse

And remember, as Feministe points out there are still women in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential races – nominees from the Green Party, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, both black women and both receiving almost no coverage whatsoever….

Comments From You

Juliet // Posted 6 August 2008 at 12:05 pm

Thank you, Louise, for coverage of these very important stories. The comment the barrister made is just jaw-dropping. Going to read more from the links now. That will of course take valuable time away from my daily struggle to look flower fresh and dream girly…!

sianmarie // Posted 6 August 2008 at 1:44 pm

great link to Katherine Heigl article, i feel a girl crush coming on! im so glad she stands up for herself, and makes the points that people are too scared to make. knocked up’s very premise was sexist, and she was right to say so.

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