A Wednesday round-up…

// 11 March 2009

A 75-year-old Syrian woman has been sentenced to 40 lashes by a Saudi court, for “mingling” – ie having two men in her house who are not related to her. CNN reports:

The case sparked anger in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s made everybody angry because this is like a grandmother,” Saudi women’s rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider told CNN. “Forty lashes — how can she handle that pain? You cannot justify it.”

The New York Times covers a women’s football league in Turkey:

“Football is seen as a man’s game in Turkey,” said Nurper Ozbar, 30, the coach of Marmara Universitesispor, the top team in the second division of the league, which also has two youth divisions.

“We’ve had men come to watch our practices and yell at our players: ‘What are you doing here? You should be at home, cooking!’ ” said Ozbar, one of the few women accredited as a soccer coach in Turkey, and the only one in Istanbul. “It’s going to take time to change this.”

The LA Times updates on the case of LaVena Johnson, who died in Iraq aged 19. The military have said it was suicide, but her family say the evidence suggests she was raped and murdered. It’s extremely upsetting, so be warned before you click through. (Via Phillip at Shakesville).

The Speak! CD is available to buy:

Compiled and arranged by Liquid Words Productions, the spoken word CD weaves together the stories, poetry, music, and writings of women of color from across the United States. The 20 tracks, ranging from the explosive “Why Do You Speak?” to the reverent “For Those of Us,” grant a unique perspective into the minds of single mothers, arrested queer and trans activists, excited children, borderland dwellers, and exploring dreamers, among many others.

“We want other women of color to know they are not alone in their experiences,” said writer and educator Alexis Pauline Gumbs of Broken Beautiful Press, one of the contributors to the CD. “We want them to know that this CD will give sound, voice and space to the often silenced struggles and dreams of women of color.”

Freelance journalist Alison Clarke has launched a site to track “women’s views on the news”:

WomensViewsOnNews.org will be a global news hub that reflects women’s views on current affairs. I want to use this blog to attract writers from around the world who file news stories (just like any other news provider) but which are told from a woman’s perspective or which specifically focus on a woman’s experience of that breaking news story.

karnythia at The Angry Black Woman is starting a small press, called Verb Noire, which “is intended to be a platform for all those stories that have been hidden for so long because the protagonist didn’t fit the mainstream mold”. They are specifically looking for speculative fiction which feature a person of colour and/or LGBT person as the main character, as well as poetry and non-fiction.

ConservativeHome has posted about how the financial crisis is caused by co-habiting couples. Yeah, really. Pickled Politics has more.

What role to women play in enforcing sexism and patriarchy? Nesrine Malik considers this difficult issue at Comment is Free:

The crossover point seems to be marriage. The happily unmarried woman is treated like an off-road vehicle that may damage and challenge the tidy spaces of married women who have arrived and finally inherited some role of authority, some credibility that they so painfully lacked when single.

Also at CiF, Sorrel Neuss writes about slow progress in acceptance of women boxing:

A few training grounds such as Peacocks in London do take girls, but they are the exception. Until a couple of years ago, the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) was uninterested in raising participation. Attitudes at the ABA have changed since 2005, when UK Sport threatened to hold back £4.3m if the association didn’t get it’s act together, but plans to bring unisex boxing gyms into leisure centres across the country have been slow to materialise.

A backwards attitude outside the gym has also kept the sport underground. Parents will happily drive their daughters to Saturday morning gymnastics, or pay netball subs, but there aren’t many who can handle watching their teenage girl take a pummeling, even if that’s what happens at school when they’re not looking.

Bird of Paradox and Penny Red write about Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust’s decision not to fund gender dysphoria surgery. You can sign a petition to protest this decision here.

The Stage newspaper is carrying out a survey on how well women are represented in drama/on TV/in film, and is asking people to sign a petition to redress the paucity of good roles for women. See womensgrid for more.

Rowenna Davis reflects on her experience of editing LabourList for International Women’s Day:

Why does women’s exclusion from the political blogosphere matter? First, online communities are now at the forefront of shaping political debate, policy and social norms. If women are excluded from these forums, it will be just as hard to win measures on gender equality as if they were barred from the House of Commons. As Cath Elliot has said, “We owe it to those who fought for women’s suffrage to make the most of the internet.”

Second, it’s worrying because – like any forum – virtual spaces develop institutional cultures over time. The House of Commons building might be gender neutral, but fill its chambers with mainly men for hundreds of years and sexism begins to looks like part of the furniture. So too with cyberspace. Unlike parliament, the internet was not made exclusively for men, but mainstream political blogs are starting to become defined as such.

Lesbilicious interviews Jo Monk, Britain’s oldest lesbian at 91:

“Then somebody at school said ‘You know what they call people like us? Lesbians’. I never knew there was such a thing.

“The word lesbian sounded so exotic. I thought ‘I’m a person, I’ve got a title, I’m not just a misfit’. I belonged to a group of people that had a name.

“I was so proud I wanted to go and tell everyone.”

The Guardian posts the latest raw data from Unesco, illustrating the gender gap in literacy, education, life expectance, income and political representation around the world. If you come up with an interesting visual or mash-up from the data, they might post it on the site…

BFP posts about mobility, walking, pain, acupuncture and more…

Miriam considers H&M’s approach to “tomboy chic”:

At least when it comes to fashion, it is definitely more acceptable for women to appropriate elements of men’s fashion. Pants for example, suits, baseball caps and even ties. But there is a moment when this crosses an unspoken line from acceptable to transgressive. I think it’s the moment when any hint of boyfriend leaves the picture. H&M tell us “Don’t forget to add your own special feminine touch.” What happens when there is no feminine touch?

brand new feminist posts about a sexist cartoon in the Metro.

Echidne of the Snakes posts about the Vatican’s positioning of washing machines as the instrument of women’s liberation…

It would have to be something of that sort, would it not? Something which doesn’t change the job-assignments at all, something which doesn’t actually affect the gendered division of labor or the unequal valuation those roles have.

LOLclits – not funny, especially when the images you LOL are photos of young girls who’ve just undergone Female Genital Mutilation.

Beacon Press is seeking an illustrator for the 30th anniversary imprint of Kindred, by Octavia Butler.

And, finally, what cake to get for a 12 year old girl’s birthday present? A Playboy cake!

Comments From You

Lindsey // Posted 12 March 2009 at 9:39 am

re: H&M

I was having these thoughts when Topshop first launched their “boyfriend” jeans: you are only allowed to wear non-revealing jeans if there’s the implication that somewhere there is a man prepared to fuck you. I found it instantly insulting.

PS: I assume “lolclits” are not safe for work – though I’m not sure I want to look, this is the first thing that’s genuinely shocked me for a while :(

Kez // Posted 12 March 2009 at 11:14 am

I’d love to know how Lesbilicious know Jo Monk is Britain’s oldest lesbian! Is there some sort of register??

The Playboy cake for a 12 year old is pathetic… though didn’t I read somewhere (possibly here) that W H Smith are pulling the Playboy stationery merchandise? So maybe the backlash is beginning. Hope so.

(The Cake Wrecks blog, on the other hand, is superb.)

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