A mini round-up

// 8 April 2010

On the news that Tory party leader David Cameron supports cutting the time limit on abortion, Liberal Conspiracy have posted a thorough breakdown of the numbers, and what a swing towards the Tories could do for women’s abortion access in this country.

Prymface is a new site challenging stereotypes about young mums (the name stands for Promoting Respect for Young Mothers).

A Reclaim the Night is scheduled in Manchester for 23 April – details on womensgrid – all genders welcome.

In preparation for the US census, Sociological Images looks at constructions of race in some different censuses around the world.

This moment in parenting has been making the rounds already, but in case you’ve not seen it already:

As Liza at Bitch Magazine said:

It is incredibly sad and funny, and shows in such a chilling way how even the most well-intentioned adults force gender roles upon kids.

Another video prompting a lot of interesting discussion has been Erykah Badu’s powerful Window Seat (H/T @CampbellX).

What Tami Said has a very much worth reading review of the video, but also links up this transcript of one parent’s conversation with their five year old child about the video, which is a must read.

A Berlin film-maker is looking for queer, fat performers for a feature length documentary project:

As well as having a strong respect for all fat and queer embodied performers, I am also very interested in the particular nuances of fat activism and queerness via publicly physical outlets; the merging of the personal and the political, the theory and the practice, the cerebral processing and the physical acting out. I want to find out how individual performers interpret their queer fat activism and how they embody this through their performance. If we experience fat oppression as sited on the body, what paths to liberation have we created for ourselves using our bodies? And as Queers, how is our sexuality present?

More info at Obesity Timebomb.

Sonya at lip magazine considers the hatred of women’s bodies which manifests itself in fashion policing of the “tights are not pants” variety. Listing some of the objections to tights as pants:

– It’s sloppy!

– It’s indecent!

– I can see your BITS!

– I can see your cellulite!

– I can see your underwear!

– I can see your body!

Notice how pretty much all of those deal with the body? A woman’s body?

Sloppy? To who?

What’s indecent? A woman’s body?

Blackamazon at Having read the fine print… posts about research showing that the median wealth of a single black woman in the US is $5, particularly in context of a ‘price of entry’ to activism:

It costs at least $10 dollars to join NOW with the actual standard price being $35 dollars.

Seven times the median wealth of a black woman in the USA.

Grassroots Feminism has posted a history of Austrian feminist magazine from the 1980s, Eva & Co (note I haven’t had time to read it all yet myself, but it looks interesting from the beginning).

No word on a UK release date yet, but I managed to see The Runaways (directed by Floria Sigismondi) last week when I was in San Francisco, and it’s awesome, so I couldn’t resist linking the trailer once again.

Comments From You

Jennifer Drew // Posted 8 April 2010 at 10:58 pm

So what’s new another female singer taking all her clothes off in public because she is supposedly making a ‘statement.’ Why the need to remove all one’s clothes – surely there would have been a better way of ‘making a statement’ but then given a woman’s worth only lies in how much flesh is exposed to the male gaze Erykah’s stripping naked is nothing new.

Are women just sexualised bodies? Because this is how popular culture and the media always portrays women and sadly Erykah’s actions are not ‘radical’ or expressive but instead are rigidly conformist to the misogynistic expectation women must wear the minimum of clothing or preferably no clothing at all in order to be noticed by the music industry.

Jess McCabe // Posted 9 April 2010 at 10:33 am

@Jennifer Drew I very much disagree – just because the video involves Erykah taking her clothes off, doesn’t make it about the male gaze, etc. I agree with Tami’s analysis, linked above, that one of the reasons the video has provoked such a reaction is precisely because it’s so removed from the usual objectification of women’s bodies.

George // Posted 9 April 2010 at 12:02 pm

@Jennifer Drew

Normally, I’d think the same thing. But I really don’t think it’s the case this time – in fact, I see it more as a defiant response to the constant pressure of objectification which is placed upon women. The video doesn’t emulate the portrayal of sexualised, perfected media bodies – as Tami has already argued, the comparison between this video and a Beyonce video is startling. Instead, it actually reminded me to take note that women’s naked flesh is not just filed under the category of “that which the male gaze objectifies”.

Maeve // Posted 9 April 2010 at 12:51 pm

Jennifer Drew, have you watched that video? Because I have, and I think you’re missing the point. It is POWERFUL. It’s not at all ‘rigidly conformist to male expectation’ – the complete opposite!

Roxsie // Posted 9 April 2010 at 12:58 pm

Does it count as news seeing as he voted to cut the time limit on abortion every time it’s come up? Either way with people like Nadine Dorries on his side women’s rights will suffer under the tories.

Kate // Posted 9 April 2010 at 1:07 pm

Bit disappointed to see Cameron’s abortion comments relegated to the round up. He’s spoken to the Catholic Herold at the beginning of the election campaign and called (again) for the limit to be lowered to 20 weeks. In my view, given the timing, this is politicising abortion politics and is a clear dog whistle to the anti-feminist right of his supposedly detoxed party.

Jess McCabe // Posted 9 April 2010 at 1:54 pm

@Kate Just because it’s included here doesn’t mean something longer won’t be written about the Tories and abortion – I just don’t personally have the time to do that presently.

Also, in terms of the notion that things in a round up are “relegated”, I would just note that everything I’ve included here could very easily have been made into substantial a post of its own, time permitting.

Ally // Posted 9 April 2010 at 3:43 pm

It would be interesting to know what the wealth gap is for women of colour here in the UK, and how we could redress this balance in the context of access to activism.

Kate@EFC // Posted 9 April 2010 at 4:31 pm

@Kate- EFC will be addressing the issue of David Cameron’s call to lower the abortion limit soon- keep your eyes peeled!

earwicga // Posted 9 April 2010 at 9:24 pm

“In my view, given the timing, this is politicising abortion politics and is a clear dog whistle to the anti-feminist right of his supposedly detoxed party.”

This discounts the feminists that would be more than happy with the limit being lowered.

Ghostpaw // Posted 10 April 2010 at 10:25 am

Wrt the Erykah Badu video, I have to agree that there _is_ something liberating about just how non-sexual it is. What saddened me was my reaction – as soon as she took off her t-shirt, I started to fear for her safety, I started to worry that some idiot was going to make a grab at her.

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