Another round-up

// 13 January 2009

Anna Chen did a show about Anna May Wong for Radio 4. But she’s also posted extensively about the show on her blog, if you can’t get Listen Again to work.

I like this story about how Emily Cummins burrowed away in her grandfather’s shed inventing things like a fridge that works on principles of evaporation, and doesn’t need to be plugged in. The garden shed inventor is always male in popular culture. It’s a shame the Daily Mail so effectively messed up reporting the story so thoroughly.

Muslimah Media Watch deconstructs an article in the LA Times about Aliyah Bacchus, a young lesbian Muslim, and her alienation from her family.

Jewess posts about Hungry to be Heard, a documentary on young Orthodox girls with eating disorders.

Charcoal Ink posts about attitudes to afros in office environments.

Bidisha posts about marriage and weddings, over at CiF. Caution: it’s a bit inflammatory.

Jeanette Winterson has a column in the Times, and she talks about the attitudes she encounters ordering ‘The Essential Dykes to Look Out For’ from her local bookshop… Via Alison Bechdel’s blog.

Women who’ve taken long career breaks to look after their children are to get £500 bonds to pay for retraining, reports The Guardian.

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker talks through some of the reasons why women do all the cooking, then eat last.

Rite Aid identifies the “masculine” greeting cards.

Cara posts at Feministe about pressure experienced by boys who compete at double dutch (skipping).

Finally, do you remember the story a while back, about how after transitioning, trans women see a drop in pay, while trans men see pay stay the same or go up? It led to some interesting debate when Laura blogged about it – The Bilerico Project interviewed one of the authors of the report.

Photo shared on Flickr by Lone Black Rider, under a Creative Commons license (I recommend the whole set of double dutch photos, actually!)

Comments From You

HelenGB // Posted 13 January 2009 at 1:28 pm

There’s a good article about Esther Duflo in the Independent today, recently voted one of the 100 most influential thinkers in the world (at 36).

Josie // Posted 13 January 2009 at 1:51 pm

“The hermetic seal of wedlock provides the perfect cover, the immaculate veneer which conceals at worst domestic violence and emotional abuse and, as a norm, a vast well-documented housework and childcare disparity between the sexes”

Absolutely loved the Bidisha article, many thanks for the link. The above quote sums up almost exactly how I feel about marriage. It shocks me rigid how many women still see marriage as one of the ultimate goals in their lives. I do feel that everyone (and that’s EVERYONE) should be free to choose marriage if they want to but as feminists, we need to be turning a very critical eye on this deeply-flawed institution

Kath // Posted 13 January 2009 at 3:09 pm

The Bidisha article was fun but obviously not a serious critique of marriage. Bidisha does seem to write stuff simply to wind up the CiFers sometimes!

“The hermetic seal of wedlock provides the perfect cover, the immaculate veneer which conceals at worst domestic violence and emotional abuse and, as a norm, a vast well-documented housework and childcare disparity between the sexes”

I do kind of instinctively feel like that about marriage myself, but I’m also aware that it’s perhaps not a good enough response for feminists! Marriage does not have to be based on gender inequality, any more than the rest of society does. Marriage does in fact provide financial protection for lots of women upon separating from a partner after having sacrificed their own financial security in order to raise a family. Now I don’t want the world to continue in such a way that it is mostly women who make such sacrifices but in reality people’s proclivity to form couples and raise families means that often one partner will make such a compromise. This happens even in the absence of children. Whether man or woman, that person has some legal entitlement to financial recompense if the relationship breaks up, as long as they were in a marriage or civil partnership (and dependent on other factors such as the length of the relationship etc). Also many widows do not have a pension of their own because of the financial compromise I have mentioned and therefore rely on their husband’s pension in their old age, which they would not have the right to inherit if they were not married.

It can be argued that these rights should apply to all couples and at present discriminate against couples who are not married/in civil partnerships. But practically you need some kind of registration of who is a couple and that is actually what you are left with when you strip a civil marriage ceremony of all the hideous and unnecessary white dress/engagement ring/name-changing etc.

Additionally, it is of course wrong and complacent to think that domestic violence, emotional abuse and housework and childcare disparity occur only within married relationships as we know that is not the case.

zohra // Posted 13 January 2009 at 4:38 pm

Muslimah Media Watch deconstructs an article in the LA Times about Aliyah Bacchus, a young lesbian Muslim, and her alienation from her family.

I was going to post about this – it completely wound me up. It was basically, ‘wow, a story about Muslim lesbian women, how nice! I never hear about them and don’t know where to find them, so this was a nice change. Does anyone know where I can find more?’

It wasn’t all bad, and the original article itself wasn’t all bad; in some ways I can see the author’s point – it is actually nice to see a story about a Muslim lesbian in the LA Times. And the bit analyzing the pictures that were used in the original article was interesting.

But the overall thrust and tone seemed ignorant to me.

E.g. this part: Who really expects a conservative family like Aliyah’s to accept a daughter living as a lesbian? You don’t even have to be someone who arranges her 17-year-old daughter’s marriage to be opposed to her being gay.

What’s that about then – the fact that the marriage was arranged, the fact that the woman was 17 at the time, or the fact that it was done by her family? Completely undermined her point, which was important: one doesn’t need to be religious, let alone Muslim, to be homophobic, and not all Muslims are homophobes.

Kath // Posted 13 January 2009 at 6:09 pm

I thought the Muslimah media watch deconstruction of the LA Times story was pretty good. For me the problematic parts were this: “There is no mention of Aliyah leaving Islam — in fact, the article notes that she…tries to lead an upright, charitable life.” As if it is impossible to lead such a life without being religious. And this: “Where are the Muslims who are gay and, though they may struggle, don’t give up on their families..” when, let’s face it, Aliyah’s family gave up on her not the other way round.

Rachel Feminista // Posted 15 January 2009 at 3:18 pm

I was pleased to accidentally come across a kids’ film about Double Dutch and boys this Winterval. It’s called Jump In [wikipedia it] – and although it’s a bit shmaltzy it makes good viewing about gender based violence violence against boys in non-trad sports. Me and my kid, Balletboy [9yrs], thought it was great but not quite as good as the one after it about the man who becomes a dog after an evil plot by vivisectionists! Balletboy is vegan after all !

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds