Weekly round-up and open thread, January 17th

// 17 January 2011

Welcome to your weekly dose of links we’ve collected but haven’t got round to blogging. As ever, a link does not constitute a seal of F-Word approval for its content, and we cannot guarantee that the articles and any subsequent comments threads will be free of material that some readers may find triggering. Feel free to have at ’em in comments, and add your own stories of the week.

Facebook still isn’t sure whether or not breastfeeding is obscene (hint: it ain’t).

Hannah Mudge debates digital equality at NetrootsUK.

In defence of single mothers (No Comment).

Lebanon’s first female electrician?

Catch the latest production of A Doll’s House in London until February 5 (watch out for the inevitable “it’s not THAT kind of feminist” reference in the review, sigh).

Congratulations to former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly, who won her ageism claim against the BBC. Her sex discrimination claim failed, but methinks this is a clear case of double discrimination – the ageism and sexism go hand in hand.

Fertile Fem reveals her former classmates’ depressing views on gender.

First-person testimonies of sexual harassment in Korean workplaces.

Women’s Grid has a list of women who received new year’s honours for supporting other women.

Ireland considers the Swedish model on sex work/prostitution.

Scottish women’s organisations have been spared funding cuts. But in less pleasant news, more than 1000 sex crime cases have been dropped in north and north-east Scotland alone since 2005.

Feministing: How to respectfully disagree with Naomi Wolf.

Reapproaching consent in a long-term relationship (Millicent and Carla Fran).

Taking on the “science” of sex differences: the mental rotation test (Echidne of the Snakes).

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto explains girls (blergh). And yet more sexism in the games industry here.

American Apparel continues to plaster its adverts with sexualised images of young women (yawn), but at least one of the latest ones has some vaguely-noticeable armpit stubble, much to the Daily Mail’s horror.

Johann Hari interviews misogynist extraordinaire Kenneth Tong. For non-tweeters like myself who missed the drama, Tong is a former Big Borther contestant who recently won tens of thousands of followers on Twitter by tweeting hateful pro-anorexia messages.

An imaginary feminist museum.

Suzanne Moore pulls out some (mostly) straw feminists and gets the commenters frothing at the mouth over at CiF: All this polite and smiley feminism is getting us nowhere.

The Hearing Trumpet: Surrealism, Feminism and Old Lady Revolt (Bad Reputation).

Muslimah Media Watch reviews an exhibition examining the contradictory relationship between Middle Eastern women and Western society.

The irony of this piece being published in the Daily (hate) Mail seems to have escaped the author and editors. Perhaps it’s time for

Kitten Block: a Firefox extension that replaces the Daily Mail and Daily Express websites with kittens and tea.

Comments From You

Mary Tracy // Posted 18 January 2011 at 12:34 am

I’m sorry, but in what way is Suzanne Moore pulling out “straw feminists”? Even if she were, why link to it?

It seems to me that you are making her point for her.

Laura // Posted 18 January 2011 at 12:57 pm

Because other than Naomi Wolf, she doesn’t give any examples of these feeble, smiley feminists! I linked because readers might find the piece interesting – as I said at the beginning, we don’t just link to things we agree with.

sianushka // Posted 18 January 2011 at 2:28 pm

I found the moore piece really irritating!

i live in bristol. believe me, we are angry about the initial police advice. if she had googled feminists in bristol, or spoken to any women in bristol, she might have found this out, instead of going ‘oh police tell women to stay indoors, oh smiley feminists do nothing’.

two reclaim the nights? interview with BBC about advice? statement on our website? meeting police to talk about? sounds like we’re doing something to me.

yes naomi wolf is behaving in a very un feminist (to me) manner. But as laura says, Naomi Wolf is one woman!

I am sick and tired of feminists in the public eye, with a media voice, criticising other feminists without checking, asking or engaging with what we’re doing.

believe me, we’re angry in bristol about being told to stay indoors. we’re not smiling sweetly and doing nothing, to avoid ‘offending men’.

Hannah // Posted 18 January 2011 at 3:08 pm

I think the Suzanne Moore piece is flawed because she doesn’t give any examples, and because she ignores the strong feminist voices that still exist today, but that are just marginalised or ignored by the media (or laid into whenever they get the chance to post on CiF, as we all know).

However…I don’t think we need to look too far to think of examples of ‘polite feminists’ in our personal lives. I know I’m forever trying to tone done how I really feel about male violence against women, porn, our sexualised culture and so on so as to not scare off other men or women. A lot of my other friends feel the same. It’s refreshing to hear a call to be more angry – even though because it’s Moore, it makes me slightly suspicious that she’s trying to rile up ‘the feminists’ to get material for her Daily Mail column.

I wonder if the ‘politeness’ isn’t just an aspect of contemporary feminism but a problem for political causes more generally. So many people are disillusioned with politics (or feign disillusionment so they have a ‘legitimate’ reason to be completely self-involved) that anyone who expresses an opinion or an allegiance is treated with suspicion. But perhaps it’s reading too much into it to say that it’s a uniquely contemporary phenomenon.

Another article that might interest fworders, ‘sleepwalker is cleared of raping teenage girl’ in Scotland, via Not Ever’s facebook group: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/news/Sleepwalker-is-cleared-of-raping.6691487.jp

Amy // Posted 18 January 2011 at 3:57 pm

hi there

here is an interesting article from womanist musings


i know that the majority of domestic violence victims are women but i just think it is horrible that there is only one domestic violence refuge for men in the whole of britain. what i find more upseting is that men are often treated with suspicion when getting help.


Jane // Posted 19 January 2011 at 9:47 am

Just to say the Johann Hari piece is brilliant – he skewers Tong very effectively.

“It seems that of you drill down into women’s insecurities and men’s misogynies, even a talentless, spoiled little sociopath can catch the attention of the world, for a few days.”

Maeve // Posted 20 January 2011 at 11:51 am

Where would Kenneth Tong be without people like Johann Hari giving him all that unwarranted oxygen of publicity? In well deserved obscurity, where he belongs. Why not do an in-depth interview with someone who promotes positive, helpful, non-misogynist views and just ignore this particular little troll worm?

Ros // Posted 20 January 2011 at 4:43 pm


To be fair, Hari is a journalist and was just reporting on the phenomenon of Tong becoming a trending topic on Twitter.

I thought the article was excellent in terms of making Tong look like a massive idiot.

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