More stuff from the wonder of the interwebs

// 18 September 2008

Over here is a great short piece from Canada on young feminists, intersectionality and the women’s movement.

Just how overwhelming a task it would be to define “today’s feminism” hit me the other day when I read the program for the upcoming pan-Canadian young feminists’ gathering….Like the individuals who make it up, what is called the “Third Wave” of the women’s movement itself is sometimes said to lack that one unifying purpose, to be a jumble of ideologies with little consensus emerging from the chaos. The earlier waves of feminism had overarching, objective goals — the vote, sexual liberation, an end to sex discrimination in jobs and schools.The focus of the new wave is an anti-focus, as it were, the opposite of a focus. Young feminists are taking “the personal is political” slogan of the previous wave, magnifying it one-hundred-fold, and running with it. Thanks to women’s studies, to the women’s movement, to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered rights movement, to the internet and whatever else, young women’s understanding of the connections between issues is deeper.

The word of the day is intersectionality — the understanding of multiple ways of being and living that shape a person and how we experience the world, and in turn how the world treats them. The idea is that one individual can be faced with a multitude of oppressions which can’t be addressed individually any more than the person herself can be physically divided into pieces and be expected to survive.

From Straight Goods

Feministing has something on a new McDonalds ad from the states which gives women permission to be un-intellectual again (because women have never fought for the right to education, obviously, and in other parts of the world are still fighting for that, and obviously because women aren’t most of the worlds illerate peoples and usually kept to prevent them challenging social mores….).

The script goes like this:

Woman 1: (sneerily)You know I heard McDonalds is making lattes now.

Woman 2: (sneerily)McDonalds? Well that’s just…(excitedly) fantastic!

W1: Isn’t it?! Now we don’t have to listen to jazz all day long!

W2: I can start wearing heels again.

W1: Read gossip magazines! (tosses book away)

W2: Watch reality TV shows…

W1: I like television!

W2: I can’t really speak French.

W1: I don’t know where Paraguay is!

W2: Paraguay?

W1: I just want to show my knees sometimes too.

And whilst we’re on popular culture matters, people have been complaining about the Eastenders storyline on child sexual abuse. Seems at least 165 folks would rather it was kept a secret matter despite the BBC working with the NSPCC on creating this story. Anti-abortionists have just won the right to change your Google experience as a British Court ruled that it was anti-equality to not allow the Christian Institute to advertise their well-known anti-abortion views on a banner ad. So now people googling for abortion may get results of anti-abortion groups instead of useful material on how to access neutral support organisations. All I can say is we need to make sure pro-choice organisations know how to make the Google ranking systems keep them at the top of the search rankings – because that’s what the anti-abortion lot will be trying to do. And as Feministe asksww – “where do we complain when the information presented isn’t factual?”

BlogHer has a call to action to Read and Blog about Darfur. And MTV Ukraine has decided that it’s OK to ask male contestants on a game show whether they can beat girls. Not at Scrabble or Ludo or something but physically. Natalie Antonova has more.

In more interesting news (if it won’t distract us from showing our knees and watching reality TV) Angela Merkel wishes she was a gymnast. Not metaphorically, a real, balance beam type gymnast. Of course the press report her desire to perform feats of flexibility before her other wishes to study law and learn French. Naturally. Because you’d hate for the most powerful woman in the world (according to Forbes) who is also a trained physicist, oh yes and Chancellor of Germany, to be anything other than quite girly, obviously. And in Israel, Tzipi Livni has narrowly won the leadership of the ruling Kadima party – lets see whether a woman in the lead position in Israeli politics can make a difference.

And NYC has just cottoned onto the fact that there is a correlation between female homicides and domestic violence with new research showing 44% of the murders of women in the city were the result of domestic violence. Most at risk were younger women aged 20-29, black, hispanic and poor women.

Also in the UK there are calls for fairer Higher Education Bursaries (yes this is a feminist issue, trust me). The problem is that women tend to apply to certain Universities with larger numbers of non-traditional students and therefore are, as a group, disadvantaged by the bursary system were it is the most elite who have the most money to give away. The most elite also coincides with the most traditionally sexist, I’m afriad, and whilst huge gains have been made there are still gender disparities. Additionally most subject specific discretionary grants are also in fields with fewest women – like Mathematics, Physics and engineering for example. Additionally analysis done at the time top-up fees were introduced noted that they, over the lifecourse, would affect women more than men because of lower average earnings etc.

Yolanda Charley has been crowned Miss Navajo Nation – a competition which isn’t about swimwear, kittens or saving the world but about preserving language, traditional skills and talents, contemporary skills and being an ambassador for the tribe. This has to be welcomed as a different take on female “beauty” contests but does lead me to wonder whether there is a Master Navajo Nation too or whether the ambassadors for the tribe and those preserving tradition somehow have to be women.

And finally…..The 13th October will see new social action inspired by Suffragists. Turn up, get a sash and listen to speakers whilst simultaneously protesting about environmental issues and marking the centenial of Suffrage demonstrations.

Comments From You

Aimee // Posted 17 September 2008 at 11:13 pm

I wonder, if we all got onto the ASA about yet another example of demeaning and sexist advertising, would they perhaps listen?

Alice Dale // Posted 18 September 2008 at 10:11 am

Well, the ASA does cover banner ads, pop-ups and sponsored searches … so the Christian Institute will have to be careful about any ads they put up.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 18 September 2008 at 8:44 pm

It would appear those individuals who complained about Eastenders’ storyline which rightly challenges dominant myths concerning child rape would rather male perpetrators be perceived as paedophiles rather than individuals who deliberately abuse their positions of trust within families.

The issue of child rape has a very, very long history of which primarily it has been about hiding and ignoring children who have been systematically raped and abused by predominantly adult male members who are not monsters but instead are ‘respected family members.’

Or perhaps these objectors prefer to view male violence against women and children wherein it is eroticised’ and child victims are depicted as sexually provocative and ‘lolitas.’ This belief occurs within the criminal justice system because time and again we read reports of judges blaming and holding girl children responsible for adult males raping and abusing them. Reality is far different, since adult perpetrators routinely engage in manipulation, cunning and deception in order to gain sexual access to the child. This is not paedophilia but child sexual abuse. Rape Crisis’ website has more information about the realities of child sexual abuse.

Sian // Posted 19 September 2008 at 9:23 am

Following on from last week’s article on child detention in asylum claims, the UK only now have decided to sign the UN convention on rights of the child in full, closing the loophole allowing them to do as they please with immigrant children without considering their welfare first. A step forward, although it seems the reason they’ve signed in full is that they don’t think it will effect “effective immigration control” after all so I’m not sure how much will actually change…

Aimee // Posted 19 September 2008 at 4:12 pm

I was eaking more in reference to the fact that the ASA either ignore, or don’t care about sexist advertising. On their website you can read their ‘judgements’. There are countless complaints about women being objectified, deameaned and marginalised in advertising, most of which are answered with comments like ‘we decided that this was harmless’ and other such bullshit. I was particularly offended by the comments regarding a complaint about that godawful Nutz advert (women, don’t expect any help blah blah blah), which was apparently ‘a lighthearted depiction of the differences between the sexes’. My arse. The ASA are a load of crap.

Delux // Posted 19 September 2008 at 4:13 pm

Please see this website if you want to know more about the Miss Navajo competition:

Cara // Posted 20 September 2008 at 8:06 pm

Exactly, Amy.

The ASA are useless.

“Stereotypes are harmless” according to them, yeah whatever.

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