// 7 May 2009

20-year-old Samantha Orobator will not be executed, the Laos government has said – she was facing the death penalty after she was arrested for carrying 500g of heroin.

However, according to the Guardian the execution may be delayed rather than cancelled. She has yet to be tried. Orobator became pregnant after she was imprisoned – making it very likely she was raped.

Women’s binge drinking up, screamed the headlines. This is a response to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, showing an increasing in women drinking “harmful amounts” of alcohol.

But, as Emily Hill points out ‘binge drinking’ in this case could mean two pints of lager in one evening:

Actually, if you scan the report summary, the principal non-lady-bashing point is that there “has been a slight overall decline in weekly drinking by men and women in Great Britain in recent years, especially among adults aged 16-24”. But “decline in levels of teenage binge drinking” isn’t going to make anyone to look at a piechart – so let us focus on the leery ladies.

The ‘sex strike’ by Kenyan women’s groups has been garnering a lot of attention, and comparisons to Aristophanes’ misogynist-but-much-reappropriated comedy Lysistrata. Two pieces on CiF are worth reading on this, by Lola Adesioye and Tamara Winfrey Harris.

Jezebel has a post about the first US recipient of a face transplant, Connie Culp. Culp’s husband shot her in the face, leaving her alive – but unable to breathe, taste, eat solids or smell on her own. Although the incident has not been generally identified in press reports as domestic violence. The Independent reports that Culp said this at the press conference:

“When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them, because you never know what happened to them,” she said. “Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away.”

As an aside, the surgeon who carried out the ground-breaking transplant happens to be a woman, Dr Maria Siemionow.

Bradford readers: there’s going to be an exhibition of the art zine Colouring Outside the Lines at the University of Bradford, from June-June. More info at Spinster Zine.

Meanwhile, readers in London can catch an eventing of presentations and performances from the oral history of the Black Women’s Movement on 19 May, at the BCA in Brixton. More info here.

Jan Hamilton is to become Scotland’s first trans police officer, reports Pink News.

Photographer Sonalle is working on a project called ‘Ethnic Minorities Coming Out’, following up on her last project ‘Ethnic Minority Domestic Violence Survirors’. The Femilist Blog says:

She wants to start taking photographs this month and would like to meet people at all stages of the coming out process, including people who haven’t come out or who are thinking about it.

The project will take an hour of your time and in return you will receive a professional photo. Your identity can remain hidden if necessary. She works in digital so you have complete control of the images chosen.

Feministing links up a new feminist film journal, which reviews movies on their value as “as pedagogical tools in the feminist classroom”.

This Nikon ad is sexist.

Cara at The Curvature writes about “cis supremacy, feminism and women’s shelters”.

We know that Reuters’ ‘Oddly Enough’ section has a track record, but Erica at Shakesville screengrabbed one particularly horrendous example, where the wire service included on the same day stories about: a ban on marriage under 18 in Saudia Arabia, a 50 year old man divorcing his “child bride” and Saudi Arabia cracking down on women’s gyms.

Julie Bindel documents getting a makeover.

And, finally, Bitch magazine interviews graphic novellist Ariel Schrag.

Comments From You

Jen // Posted 7 May 2009 at 3:20 pm

Julie Bindel documents getting a makeover

Ding ding ding!

Jennifer Drew // Posted 7 May 2009 at 4:25 pm

‘Women’s Binge Drinking up’ -yes but there are still far more men dying from alcohol related diseases than women. Twice as many men as women die from alcohol related illnesses but this fact is not ‘news’ is it? No, the media prefers to constantly tell women they should reduce their alcohol consumption, because women are adult children unlike men and so need to be constantly told they are not adhering to patriarchal standards of female behaviour.

See for statistics on numbers of men dying from alcohol related illneses.

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 7 May 2009 at 4:51 pm

Awesome post from Cara there. Cis women working in shelters using their transphobic prejudice to prevent some of the most vulnerable women from accessing their services and from helping others is just despicable. Do they really think that the cis women there are going to see a victimised trans woman, who has had similar experiences to themselves, and be triggered? (And that’s if they even know she is a trans woman.) Any potential upset that a trans woman’s presence could cause would stem directly from the discriminatory attitudes of the person who was upset, it would in no way be the trans woman’s fault. All barring trans women does is put them in danger and legitimise transphobia.

Laura // Posted 7 May 2009 at 6:31 pm

As for people who say that trans people should set up their own services: one, this assumes that trans women are not women, and two (if we’re even going to entertain this viewpoint, but it’s out there so I’m going to address it), there are relatively few trans people, almost all of whom no doubt suffer enough discrimination, hardship and victimisation as it is, without having to go through the incredible difficulty of setting up a service which will inevitably be underfunded and constantly under threat of folding. (Not that I’m saying trans people are incapable of doing so, but that they shouldn’t have to.) Again, this is besides the point as trans women are women, so have the right to use women-only services. It goes without saying that trans women deserve help and support just as much as cis women, and denying them this based on a prejudice is inhuman.

sianmarie // Posted 11 May 2009 at 11:20 am

did anyone else find that julie bindel article quite problematic? i found it quite offensive, and normally i agree with many (if not all)of her points. just the suggestion that women only wear make up to attract men, and therefore as a lesbian she didn’t wear make up – ignoring the fact that lesbians can wear make up and straight women can wear make up not for men…i understand the argument that living in a patriarchy there can be difficulties with this argument, but as a woman who used to never leave the house without make up on, who then went through a phase of never wearing make up to overcome that insecurity, i now wear make up as and when i like, generally to play around with differnt looks, than as a method to “enhance” them. i also know plenty of gay women who wear make up, and as a bi woman i have worn make up when in a relationship with a man or a woman. it just seemed to me to be full of quite horrible and uncomfortable generalisations that i wouldn’t expect from a feminist.

Rachelle // Posted 11 May 2009 at 3:48 pm

To Sian Marie

Yes, that’s exactly what I got from it.

w00t for femme lesbian invisibility

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