Weekend reading

photo via Sociological Images

photo via Sociological Images

Apparently, the way to sell shoes in the 70s was to say they would piss off feminists.

The team behind the movie Dear White People offers PSAs that take down stereotypes about black people. I can’t wait to see this movie.

St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy thinks learning how to spin an officer-involved shooting in the media is “highly entertaining.”

A disturbing report from Amnesty International on abortion in El Salvador shows where criminalizing abortion and policing pregnant women’s bodies can lead.

Apparently when shooting victim and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords tries to hold politicians accountable on gun control, she’s being “mean.”

A Republican congressional candidate wants to track immigrants like FedEx tracks packages.

In Texas, bastion of women’s rights, “creep shots” up women’s skirts are now legal.

The Onion skewers men who think they are dazzling women into silence with their intelligence.

Mark Pryor & the NRA: the scant reward for political caution

photo via viralread.com

There are certain issues and interest groups that politicians will bend over backwards to avoid upsetting. We all know from the abysmal state of gun laws in this country that the National Rifle Association is one of them. Think Progress reports on just what fealty to the gun lobby got Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR):

Last year, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) voted against a popular proposal to require people who purchase firearms online or at gun shows first complete a background check. On Tuesday, however, the National Rifle Association announced a $1.3 million ad buy in Pryor’s home state of Arkansas supporting Pryor’s Republican opponent Rep. Tom Cotton.

Last year, the Senate voted 54-46 in support of a proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases — which, in the anti-democratic institution that is the United States Senate, actually counts as a loss for supporters of gun reform. Pryor was one of four Democrats who opposed this proposal.

The Arkansas senator’s vote ran contrary to the views of his home state. A poll taken the month after the vote found that 60 percent of Arkansas voters support “requiring background checks for all gun sales, including gun shows and the internet.” The same poll found that 40 percent of voters said they were more likely to vote for Pryor if he supported expanded background checks, while only 34 percent said they were less likely to support him.


Weekend reading


A hilarious take on “dad feminism” from The Toast.

It’s not just police departments–some school districts are reportedly getting free military gear from the Pentagon.

A video from the World Science Festival shows how unreliable eyewitness identification is.

How many women are in prison for defending themselves against domestic violence?

9 tips for police to prevent civilian shootings.

A student and a faculty adviser are suspended from the school newspaper for refusing to print a racist sports team name.

25 famous women on not having children.

Worst father of the year award goes to the Missouri lawmaker who is suing to deny his daughters birth control access.

What is a “good abortion”?

photo via washingtonpost.com

photo via washingtonpost.com

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is in the news again for sharing her abortion story in her recently released memoir. She shares the heart wrenching tale of ending two wanted pregnancies. It’s brave of Davis to share these personal stories, surely anticipating the ridiculous pushback and prying questions she would face. As many people have pointed out, while it’s very important for people to share these stories to end the stigma around abortion in this country, it’s no woman’s responsibility to carry that burden.

But Davis’s story also raises questions about what is viewed as an “acceptable” abortion in our culture, and what decisions are still shrouded in shame. Tara Culp-Ressler writes at Think Progress (more…)

Weekend reading


Two women get married after 72 years together. 

A photo essay on women who risked everything to expose sexual assault in the military.

As Cosmo dives into elections this year, they offer 10 reasons young women need to vote in the midterms.

Every president in the last quarter century has gone on prime time TV to announce bombing Iraq.

24,000 transgender voters could be disenfranchised by voter ID laws.

17 black women who deserve their own biopics.

Advice from Ask Polly: “Fuck wondering if you’re lovable. Fuck asking someone else, ‘Am I there yet?’ Fuck listening for the answer. Fuck waiting, alone, for a verdict that never comes. Don’t grow up to be one of those women with a perpetual question mark etched into her brow: Am I good? Am I lovable? Am I enough?

A satisfying video for when you’re annoyed at being told to smile by random dudes.

Tell us what the rules for women are, so we can break them

It’s hard for women to do anything right if you want to measure by the constraints that society puts on our behavior.  Jay Smooth put out this great sarcastic video rant that sums this up well following the debate around the hacking of celebrities’ private photos. You should watch the whole thing, but here’s a snippet:

There’s a lot of stuff in the news about women, how women are treated, right now. And I want to contribute and be a part of the conversation, but I’m having trouble keeping track. Does anyone have a complete, up-to-date list everything women are supposed to do and not do so that they qualify for having their humanity respected? Like, ok, I know that if women want to feel safe in public, they’re supposed to “not dress a certain way” and then if they don’t dress a certain way and they still get harassed and assaulted all the time, there are other things that they’re doing or not doing to earn a right to safety, but what are those other things? I’m having trouble keeping track.


Weekend reading


Gun control group takes on open carry policies at grocery stores in new ads.

Janet Mock on how she came to embrace the term feminist.

A new Minnesota law provides doulas for incarcerated women.

10 documentaries about political women.

Police in North Carolina arrested a young black activist and politician for distributing voting rights leaflets.

Private prison stocks are rising with the influx of unaccompanied migrant children.

It’s sleazy at the top: on women, power and body policing

photo via cbsnews.com

There’s no question that we need more women in power. But if we ever needed a reminder that climbing to the top doesn’t insulate women from sleazy sexism, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) gave us one this week:

“In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand, 47, shares a sobering incident in the congressional gym, where an older, male colleague told her, ‘Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!’ On another occasion, she writes, after she dropped 50 lbs. one of her fellow Senate members approached her, squeezed her stomach, and said, ‘Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!'”

The People interview is short, but the New York Post filled it in with some more examples from the book, like the time a congressman told Gillibrand, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”


Weekend reading


What it would look like if Marvel drew male superheroes the way they draw females ones.

A Marine Corps veteran rants against rape jokes in the military.

How does a 9-year-old come to shoot a fully automatic weapon?

California passed a law requiring affirmative consent on college campuses.

Kat Stoeffel makes the case for objectifying men without guilt.

11 better ways to deal with rape than nail polish.

What’s wrong with those (white) people?


Sadly, but not surprisingly, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has brought our country’s most virulent racism to the fore. A prime example, which I have not had the stomach to visit directly myself, is the fundraising page to support Darren Wilson, the police officer who took Brown’s life. From what I’ve seen featured on other sites, it’s a virtual playground for the worst humanity has to offer.  (more…)