Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: All-American Muslim, Victim-Blaming Ad Campaign & “Muscular Empathy”

via feministryangosling.tumblr.com

  • In an attack on women of color’s reproductive freedoms, anti-choice members of Congress have pushed for a bill called the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” which seeks to prevent women of color from attaining abortions in the name of “civil rights.” Clarification: Neither Susan B. Anthony nor Frederick Douglass would have supported this BS.
  • Feministing breaks down the victim-blaming and just downright disturbing “rape prevention” campaign at “ControlTonight.org”, targetting — you guessed it — young women victims. Same old ridiculous narrative: the raped person should control the rapist’s urge to rape by NOT going out and drinking.  The ad’s image itself is a trigger warning, so be prepared to fume with anger.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to the Forbes article, “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.” It’s entitled, “Muscular Empathy,” and explores one of the greatest challenges an historian faces, let alone a human being: empathy with people from very different circumstances than ourselves. Here’s an excerpt:

This basic extension of empathy is one of the great barriers in understanding race in this country. I do not mean a soft, flattering, hand-holding empathy. I mean a muscular empathy rooted in curiosity. If you really want to understand slaves, slave masters, poor black kids, poor white kids, rich people of colors, whoever, it is essential that you first come to grips with the disturbing facts of your own mediocrity. The first rule is this–You are not extraordinary. It’s all fine and good to declare that you would have freed your slaves. But it’s much more interesting to assume that you wouldn’t and then ask “Why?”

Harris-Perry is at her strongest when she breaks down the devastating and unseen culture of shame that is put upon and often internalized by black women; it is fed by a dangerous form of misrecognition that harms both individuals and societies. Harris-Perry is nuanced in her understanding of shame not only manifesting as a sort of shrinking-away, but in the compensating “strong black woman” stereotype that seems positive, but leaves little room for the full scope of human vulnerability. Shame, then, serves as a kind of social control.

  • Robin Lim, an American midwife who has served thousands of Indonesian women in their births, is CNN’s Hero of the Year.

Sebelius claims that her reason is that the FDA didn’t show that 11-year-old girls, some 10 percent of whom are fertile, understand how to follow the EC directions….If a sixth grader can’t understand those elementary, crystal-clear instructions, we should just move back to the caves, because civilization is finished.

Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: An Anti-Racist Dating Book, NPR’s “Living Large” Series, & Brave Uses of Free Speech

photo credit: Bitch media

So much feminist news to catch up on! Enjoy.

  • The wonderful Samhita over at Feministing wrote an unconventional and feminist dating advice book. Racialicious applauds her deconstruction of exoticism, anti-interracial dating narratives, and the pressures on cis-gendered men. (There’s a long excerpt in the review, too.)
  • American-Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy courageously shares her story of being sexually and physically assaulted by Egyptian police in Tahrir Square. via The Guardian [trigger warning]:

“I was taking pictures and covering events on the frontline of confrontations between protesters and the police and the military and a group of five or six riot police beat me, and surrounded me and rained their big sticks down on my arms. I was trying to protect myself.

“They also sexually assaulted me. They dragged me to the ministry of the interior. They dragged me by the hair and called me all sorts of insults. And this all happened in about seven to eight minutes.”

  • Another, quite different, brave use of 1st amendment rights: Emma Sullivan, an 18-year-old high school student from Kansas, overtly and shamelessly criticized her state’s Republican governor, Sam Brownback, for his homophobic and anti-choice politics. She was sent to the principal’s office for her comment made on Twitter that he “sucks”– but as she says, “I wasn’t sorry for what I said because I meant it.”

-Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat and Biology
-One Woman’s Struggle to Shed Weight, and Shame
-Why Doctors and Patients Talk Around Growing Waistlines
-For Obese, Intimate Lives Often Suffer
-Corporations Offer Help in Trimming the Waist

  • Notice any patterns? Shame, lose weight, trim your waist, waistline, suffer, shame, shame, bad, bad. Might as well read Cosmo. Read Tiger Beatdown’s excellent analysis of the lack of critical treatment of body size in this series.

credit: feministryangosling.tumblr.com

  • Can’t believe I haven’t posted this here yet. Feminist Ryan Gosling, created by a PhD candidate in Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin. It’s FLASH CARDS of dense feminist theory, in a cute package! Here’s an interview with the creator, who responds to the question, Why do you think this is so popular?

Feminists are apparently not supposed to have a sense of humor.  I think people are really liking the fact that this site is intelligent while simultaneously silly, and obviously self-referential. A lot of my followers are women’s studies majors, or people who have taken women’s studies classes, and love seeing inside jokes presented in this way. For example, if you’re a women’s studies major, you’ve probably read “The Yellow Wallpaper” at least 18 times. Now matter how much you like that story, it gets a little ridiculous.

  • A little politics-of-the-c-word action for ya! Comedian Sarah Mathews writes about her mixed (but ultimately positive) feelings in Guernica magazine.