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New Website for Women, By Women [26 Feb 2008|06:22pm]

Hey everyone, (I hope this is okay to post here!)

Power for Women is a new non-profit website and community aimed at bringing information on domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental and physical health to all women. Additionally, we go over dating tips and relationship advice, or how to survive as a single woman in this world. PLEASE go visit and register at http://www.powerforwomen.net/forums/  in order to meet people with the same goal as you: to help others. There are discussion boards of all types currently open.

The forums contain discussions on family and parenting, sexual health and discussion, advice, a bitchfest, and other types of forums. It is an open community with the single goal of connecting women worldwide as the Power for Women website grows more and more.

I really appreciate it! Any and all help is welcome. I hope to see you over there :)

X-posted for more involvement.
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Blog!! [19 Dec 2007|01:51pm]

[ mood | bouncy ]

Hey everyone -

I have just finished my first women's studies class, and can't wait to start my minor in the Spring. I have learned so much, and can't wait to be part of such an amazing community and movement. Since my class began, I have been keeping a blog, and wanted to share it with you all. I hope to start updating more regularly as I become active in women's studies and the feminist movement.

I've also just set up a link where you can sign up to have updates sent to you, which is kind of exciting! I'd love to hear everyone's opinions and input, so feel free to take a look. Thank you all for being such a supportive bunch! :)


x-posted all over, sorry if you see this more than once!

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[02 Dec 2007|03:53pm]

Help me with my homework!!

I have an art project, and i chose to do Cyberfeminism.....

Cyberfeminism encourages ACTION and PARTICIPATION

Please check out my CyberFem Blog : http://cyberfeminism.blogspot.com and voice your opinions of various issues.

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Queer CUNY VIII This Saturday! [26 Nov 2007|02:48pm]

Queer CUNY VIII: The Twilight of Queerness?
Saturday, December 1st
Hunter College, West Lobby

The conference will commence in the West Lobby of Hunter College (entrance on the SW corner of 68th and Lex).

To get a sneak peek of the scheduled panels, click here.Collapse )

Please contact QueerCUNY@gmail.com with any questions.
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Queer CUNY VIII [06 Nov 2007|04:23pm]


Hunter College, NYC
Keynote Speaker: Lisa Duggan
December 1st

The Twilight of Queerness?Collapse )
Anyone who is interested in attending the conference and/or helping produce it should email Taylor at QueerCUNY@gmail.com
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BBC: Is it OK for disabled people to go to brothels? [23 Oct 2007|09:11pm]

This strikes me as a really bizarre piece from the BBC.

Is it OK for disabled people to go to brothels?

I'm having trouble finding excerpts from the piece that I want to highlight because, honestly, I'm not sure exactly what the piece is about. I can absolutely understand what is behind the perspectives presented by disabled people, but I think that my confusion arises from the title of the piece: Is it OK for disabled people to go to brothels?

What is the BBC asking?

Is it OK for disabled people, as opposed to non-disabled people, to go to brothels?
Is it OK for anyone people to go to brothels?
Is there a difference between disabled and non-disabled people going to brothels?

I'm not sure, and would be interested in your thoughts. (Obviously, I welcome comments on the above and anything else you are thinking about this issue and/ or the piece.)

The piece is copied and pasted below the cut.Collapse )

Thank you.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Daily Mail - How feminism destroyed real men [21 Oct 2007|11:11am]

This piece is from the Daily Mail sometime ago (and may well have been posted here before) but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on it. The central argument seems to be that feminism has emasculated our Real Men in the UK; and that we ladies, told be truth, actually want our Real Men to come back and take charge. (Note that the Daily Mail will never be feminism-friendly, in my opinion.)

Link to the piece

Some paragraphs from the beginning, under the cut. Collapse )

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Rape is funny, apparently [21 Oct 2007|09:17am]

Deeply offensive and upsetting throw pillow, anyone?

"NO means eat me out first"

It makes me feel sick and very angry.

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Obstetric fistula [19 Oct 2007|08:20pm]

I'm ashamed to say that I've never even heard of this condition. Part of the message of this piece for me was the differences between the life experiences of women in the 'developed' world and those in the 'developing' world, and the unjustness of this.
Each year, 100,000 women who give birth in poor countries develop a devastating condition which leaves them incontinent and ostracised.

Obstetric fistula, a hole linking the vagina with the bladder or rectum, occurs when women - often in their early teens - are in labour for days.

Campaigners at a global conference on maternal health in London this week, entitled Women Deliver, have emphasised that a simple and cheap operation can cure it.

The BBC News website speaks to two survivors about how surgery has transformed their lives.
Link to the BBC article, which includes the accounts from two survivors and further links to organisations working in this area.

Excerpts from the survivors' accounts, if you don't feel like clicking through. Collapse )

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Judge: "Sadomasochists sometimes like to get beat up" [19 Oct 2007|04:09pm]

In the messy world of domestic violence cases, often complicated by a lover's willingness to forgive, this one had a promising twist for prosecutors: Though the woman refused to testify against her boyfriend, a police officer said she had witnessed the attack in a Laurel gas station parking lot.

But Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul Harris, in a decision that has victims' rights advocates crying foul, acquitted the man charged with second-degree assault after he was accused of striking his girlfriend three times in the face. The judge said that without the woman's testimony, he could not be sure that she hadn't consented to the attack.

"The state is stepping into the shoes of the victim when she obviously doesn't care," Harris told the prosecutor, according to a recording of the Oct. 3 hearing. "It's that big brother mentality of the state. ... But I have to decide the case based on what I have, and I think a crucial element is missing."
This case has sparked absolutely justified anger from victim groups, in my opinion, not least because of the judge's apparent justification for his decision in the statement in this paragraph:
And in a comment that has riled victims' advocates and prosecutors, Harris added, "You have very rare cases; sadomasochists sometimes like to get beat up."
The following is a very real concern. One hopes that the hard work of women and victims groups hasn't been undone by this decision.
With authorities across the country encouraging victims of domestic violence to come forward, concerns were raised yesterday that the judge's comments and dismissal of the case set a dangerous precedent - one that threatens to erode victims' trust in the legal system.
The judge doesn't help himself with this comment:
Harris said the sadomasochist comment was intended as a hypothetical. "I'm probably as against domestic violence as anybody, when the case is proven."
Probably?! Thank you indeed for your support.

But aside from all of the above, the case heard eye-witness evidence about the assault from a police officer. One would think that such evidence would be incriminating enough to secure a conviction. The piece calls the judge's decision 'unfortunate'. I call it atrocious.

Your thoughts?

Link to the complete piece, with thanks to shakespearessister, among others, for bringing it to our attention.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Girls, gangs and gang violence [18 Oct 2007|03:04pm]

This post was inspired partially by a post today on Feministe, (*) which linked to a summary of a study on girls and gang violence, and partially my own interest in the subject. (Thank you Feministe for spurring me on!) The contents of the summary are posted behind a cut below.

My main questions are:
  • Why do girls become involved in gangs?
  • What do they perceive as the rewards of involvement?
  • What is their role within gangs?
  • What are the effects of gang involvement?
  • How might it be possible to intervene with girls' involvement in gangs?
And everything else in between! I should add that I'm a criminologist/ sociologist/ sociology researcher (a combination of all three, if you like!) so my interest stems from the 'sociology of culture', which is applicable to this phenomenon. I've also been considered submitting a research proposal to look at these questions but I don't have the time or resources for that right now.

In any case, I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts you have on anything to do with this area.

Teenage Girls Buying into Gang Violence. A Summary.Collapse )

Feministe also linked to this piece on the MS-13 gang in America, which some of you might also find interesting.

Thanks, all.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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'Sex at the Margins' - interview with the author [13 Oct 2007|07:31pm]

I recently made a post in this community with links to a BBC online series on sex trafficking in the UK. After that, I read an interview with author Laura Agustín which suggests that some perceptions of sex work and trafficking may be skewed. She's written a book, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labor Markets and the Rescue Industry, in which she challenges some current beliefs.

The book is described:
This groundbreaking book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label "trafficked" does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the "rescue industry" disempowers them. Based on extensive research among migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustín, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry. Although they are treated like a marginalized group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
The interview I mentioned is here, and elaborates on her perspectives. I should add that Agustin writes specifically about the US in her book.

The point of this post is to ask if anyone here has anything to add to Agustin's analyses and claims, or if they would like to counter them with perspectives of their own. I know nothing about her work, but I am going to learn more about the claims that she is making.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Two-signature rule on abortions should be abandoned, say doctors (Guardian) [11 Oct 2007|08:08pm]

Women should no longer have to obtain the signatures of two doctors to have an early abortion, and the upper time limit for the procedure should remain at 24 weeks, doctors' leaders said yesterday.

In evidence to an inquiry by MPs into abortion law ahead of possible amendments to legislation later this autumn the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says the legal requirement for two signatures in the first three months of pregnancy is "anachronistic" except in very complex cases, and should be scrapped.
I am absolutely in support of abolishing the rule that the signatures of two doctors are required for an abortion to take place. I'm less sure about increasing the upper time limit for abortions to higher than 24 weeks simply because I would be concerned about the physical and emotional effects of later abortions on the woman. I believe that terminations which take place in the 20th to 24th week of a pregnancy can be both physically and emotionally traumatic. On the other hand, the longer a woman has to exercise her right to choose, the better.

[ETA: I am not telling anyone what they can do or not do - I'm opening up a discussion about this very important and emotive issue. I don't make decisions about abortion legislation and never implied that I did. For my part, I am absolutely pro-abortion and pro-choice, and believe that the physical and emotional health of the woman should be a central concern in all procedures. My point is that the 24-week-rule currently in place in the UK may well be acting a useful 'safety device' for women having abortions.]

Link to the piece.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Home Secretary tells journalists "obsessed" with her clothes and cleavage "to get over it" (BBC) [10 Oct 2007|08:47pm]

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told journalists "obsessed" with her clothes and cleavage "to get over themselves".

She told the BBC's Woman's Hour that combating terrorism and crime were her priorities - and not her clothing.

Press commentators called her a "babe" and "pneumatic" after her first Commons statement as Home Secretary, which was about the failed car bombings.

Ms Smith said: "Funnily enough the main thing on my mind when I got up was not: 'Is my top too low cut or not?'"

Good for her! I'm really glad she's spoken out because I was angry to read this at the time. This is our first female Home Secretary, and she came into post at a really difficult time in the UK. I can't believe that the media concentrated on her choice of clothing rather than the statements she was making about terrorism. Pathetic!

Commentators began focusing on Ms Smith's outfits in July after she made her first Commons statement as home secretary.

In a sober update on terrorism that was well received by MPs of all parties, she said the UK would "not be intimidated" by failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow Airport.

But it subsequently appeared the attention of some press sketch writers had focused more on style than substance.

As well as male writers describing her as "a babe", "pneumatic" she was also said to have a "home front" - female colleagues were outraged, dubbing the comments "misogynistic".
Link to the article.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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The Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Guardian) [08 Oct 2007|05:37pm]

I haven't seen any of Billie Piper's new TV series but I know that it's about the life ('secret diary') of a fictional call girl. In this case, the call girl enjoys a lifestyle of champagne and caviare. The article I'm linking too is from the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' site and criticises the programme for being unrealistic and for glamorising an industry it doesn't even reflect in a realistic way.
The Secret Diary of a Call Girl plumbs new depths in its distortion of reality. Piper as the call girl has a luxurious lifestyle, earning huge amounts of money having enjoyable sex with pleasant - and often handsome - men in smart hotels. In a staggeringly disingenuous interview, Piper defended the series, arguing that her character was "in control" and that, while such an experience of prostitution might be rare, it was a story that deserved to be told. She provided a succinct summary of how feminism's language of empowerment has been hijacked to serve male entitlement.

What, of course, gets missed out of Piper's glamorous champagne-and-silk-negligee account is a few facts. In the UK, more than half of prostitutes have been raped or sexually assaulted. Three-quarters have been physically assaulted, 95% are drug users, and 90% want to get out. Nearly 70% meet the criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder, in the same range as victims of torture and combat veterans.

The prostitution market in this country is being transformed by eastern Europeans, trafficked or desperate. They're cheap and they are worked hard - up to 40 clients a day - in private flats hidden in the most unlikely of leafy green suburbs from Peterborough to Cheltenham. Police raids across Cambridgeshire uncovered no fewer than 80 new brothels last year. While sex trafficking is booming as one of the most lucrative forms of organised crime (low risk and high returns), Piper pops up in a fairytale role as sinister as the witch enticing Hansel and Gretel into her gingerbread house.

The central point the author wants to make is that, 'The screen adaptation of The Secret Diary of a Call Girl legitimises a trade [prostitution] that in reality is utterly brutal and misogynistic.'

As is frequently the case with Comment is Free, the comments from readers are more interesting than the piece itself.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the programme, or on the representation of prostitution in the media?

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Mother seeks girl's hysterectomy (BBC) [07 Oct 2007|08:45pm]

I'm interested in hearing what the community thinks about this, from a feminist or other viewpoint. (Link.)
The mother of a severely disabled teenager has asked doctors to give her daughter a hysterectomy to stop her from starting menstruation.

Alison Thorpe, 45, from Essex, says 15-year-old Katie, who has cerebral palsy, would be confused by periods and they would cause her indignity.

Doctors are now seeking legal approval before carrying out the surgery.

The disabled charity Scope said the operation would set a "disturbing" precedent for other disabled girls.

If approved, it will be the first time in Britain a hysterectomy is carried out without it being medically needed.
(Cross-posted where relevant.)

(ETA: Here is a discussion on the BBC 'Have Your Say' site about this case.)
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"Hit her, baby, one more time" Britney as a representation of a prevalent trait in our culture [06 Oct 2007|11:48am]

I found this piece on salon.com some time ago, and posted it somewhere else at the time, but thought it would fit here.

Here's the link: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/09/12/britney_vma/index.html

And here's an excerpt:

Who can believe that there is anything more to say about Britney Spears at this point? But, alas, there is. Spears has come to represent something -- something important enough that it keeps rearing its head. As has been pointed out before, she embodies the disdain in which this culture holds its young women: the desire to sexualize and spoil them while young, and to degrade and punish them as they get older. Of course, she also represents a youthful feminine willingness -- stupid or manipulated as it may be -- to conform to the culture's every humiliating expectation of her.

What happened to Spears, and what she chose to do to herself, this weekend was actually pretty hard to watch -- a gross example of exactly how much malicious satisfaction we get out of the embarrassing weakness of an addictive, postpartum, out-of-control mess of a human being. But as sad as anything is that the young musician shows zero interest in making it stop.


She embodies the disdain in which this culture holds its young women: the desire to sexualize and spoil them while young, and to degrade and punish them as they get older.

I think that this is an aspect of our society that is becoming ever more prevalent. We almost demand that our young women flaunt themselves for our enjoyment, and the moment they let their beautiful façade slip, they incur our full wrath. No longer is beauty within or in the eye of the beholder - now, it's only about how much flesh is on display and how that flesh meets our 'criteria'.

Men don't have to endure the same 'standards' but that was not the intention of highlighting this piece. My point was to say that NO ONE should have to endure these standards.

As the author of the piece says:

And so it continues, the nauseating spiral.

(Cross-posted to relevant communities.)
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Blogging [10 Sep 2007|12:12am]

Hello everyone!

I am so excited to find this community, as I just declared a Women's Studies minor this semester. I am so interested in learning more, and my Intro class is so great - I can't wait to start taking more classes next semester. In any case, I started blogging about my experiences into feminism, and I'd love to hear some feedback from other Women's Studies scholars - my blog is here, so feel free to check it out! Thank you so much, and I look forward to being a member of this community!

- JL

x-posted to womens_studies
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[22 Nov 2006|06:35am]

Recently, my Woman and Society class were discussing Muslimahs (Muslim women) and their religious garb, such as burqas and hijabs. We discussed on whether or not Muslimahs should wear their traditional religious garb while living in Western countries. A lot of the class stated that they believe that the veil is a symbol of oppression and it is an archaic practice. From my brief research on burqas and hijabs, women who wear them in Western countries do so out of choice and out of respect for their religion. Modesty is not demanded by Islam, but rather encouraged. Taking up the veil is a personal choice.

What are your opinions on the veil (hijabs, burqas)? Do you think they're symbols of oppression and Muslim women shouldn't wear them while living in the West?

x-posted to feminist_fatale and feminist
5 comments|post comment

What happened to Memory_Guilded? [12 Sep 2006|10:29am]

Her account is deleted.  What happened?
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