Say what you will about him, but I’ve missed this man.
“If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it just means that men and women have equal rights. And I feel like everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. But I think the reason people don’t clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture.” ~ Aziz Ansari, on Late Show with David Letterman (October 2014)
I’ve been saving this for an end of the year post, but, well, life . . . so now it’s a beginning of the year post. I’m only listing a selection of the ones I liked the most. Enjoy.
from mic.com (*click link to see full list)
In 1998, Time magazine declared feminism dead. Nearly 15 years later, it wondered if instead, perhaps feminism should be banned. Constantly on attack from all sides, feminism has spent the past few decades proving its importance and relevance over and over and over again. If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that the backlash against feminism will always be a measure of our success. That’s the thing with progress — it is perceived as a threat by those too weak to embrace it.Indeed, it’s clear 2014 was a historic one for feminism. Women stood up for their rights, challenged stereotypes, fought for recognition and took control of the dialogue. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most iconic feminist moments this year:
1. Malala Yousafzai accepted the Nobel Peace Prize — and went straight back to chemistry class.
The Nobel Peace Prize is “not going to help in exams” Yousafzai joked to reporters after becoming the youngest person to win the award. In addition to advocating against violence, poverty and advocating for more access to education for women and girls, the 17-year-old activist has become a symbol of hope and proof that feminism really does have the power to change the world.
2. Mo’ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”
When the 13-year-old Davis led her team to the Little League World Series, it’s safe to say she captivated the nation. Poised and confident, Davis was an instant role model for millions of little girls — and boys — and also was the first Little Leaguer to grace a Sports Illustrated cover.
3. Emma Watson stunned the U.N.
We knew Watson was destined for big things as soon as the U.N. named her as an official Goodwill Ambassador, but we had no idea how much of an impact she would have — and so soon — until she gave a speech highlighting the importance of gender equality and feminism. Although some feminists were disgruntled by a perceived lack of acknowledgment by the star of her own privilege, her public defense of feminism certainly started a conversation, sending the message that feminism is important and should be embraced by both men and women.
4. A survivor brought her mattress — and sparked a national movement.
Frustrated by what she saw as an unacceptable response from school officials to her alleged sexual assault, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz took matters into her own hands. As part of her senior performance art project, Sulkowicz announced she would carry her mattress everywhere she went until her alleged rapist was expelled.
It didn’t take long for others to notice, eventually sparking a national day of protest culminating in 28 mattresses being dropped in front of the office of Lee Bollinger, the university president, in a dramatic show of solidarity.
5. Jennifer Lawrence beat the Internet’s worst trolls at their own game.
It’s no coincidence the 4chan celebrity nude scandal targeted almost exclusively female celebrities. Culturally, we still view women’s sexuality as inherently shameful, making the exploitation of said sexuality one of the most effective ways we have to try to put women down. Lawrence, however, is far too strong a woman to be shamed by a few cowardly trolls hiding behind the anonymous cloak of the dark net.
She told Vanity Fair that those who attempt to denigrate women for taking intimate photos are the ones who should be ashamed. “I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for,” she said. Amen to that.
6. Women stormed the halls of Congress.
The 2014 midterm election may have been a “shellacking” for Democrats, but it also saw victories by a new wave of women, on both sides of the political aisle, ultimately increasing the ratio of female representatives greatly. A record 100 women will serve in the 114th Congress, and that’s something we should all celebrate.
7. A bro tried to defend catcalling on TV — and was totally shut down.
Although it’s rare to hear anyone describe a crime like harassment as a “compliment,” it’s always shocking to hear a man on television think he can get away with telling women how they should or should not feel about it. Amanda Seales did not take kindly to Steve Santagati’s suggestion that women should be thankful for the attention during a debate. From now on, every reaction to mansplaining will forever be judged against the flawless takedown that resulted.
9. Laverne Cox didn’t break barriers, she crushed them.
Laverne Cox, in addition to being an incredibly talented actress, has spent the past year helping to open doors for her transgender brothers and sisters. Some of her firsts included being the first openly transgender woman to garner an Emmy nomination for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black, a rare, realistic portrayal of a transgender woman in mainstream pop culture. Cox also graced the cover of Time magazine, shining a brilliant light on the talent of trans individuals and the growing strength of the transgender rights movement.
10. Taylor Swift had a feminist epiphany.
After years of comments to the contrary, the superstar entertainer finally came out of the gender equality closet this year, confiding to the Guardian that she was a feminist all along (knew it)! Swift then set about proving her commitment to the movement, releasing a video for her single “Blank Space” that was described as a “dystopian feminist fairy tale.”
Indeed, over the span of only a couple months, Swift has been on something of a feminist tear, disproving stereotypes about feminists, calling out the music industry’s trivialization of women artists and giving thanks for the invaluable role of female friendships in her life. Oh, and can we talk about that VMA performance?
11. #YesAllWomen reached almost 2 million tweets in under four days.
Not all men assault, rape and harm women, but #YesAllWomen have to deal with the threat of being hurt every day. That was the rallying cry behind what may be the most viral feminist hashtag of all time. Born out of the tragedy that took place in Santa Barbara, California, it was an opportunity for women to speak openly about the injustices that plague their lives. At one point, the hashtag trended more than Kim Kardashian’s wedding, proof that the conversation was long overdue and resonated with many.
Thanks to #YesAllWomen, the conversation about the shooting was seen through a gendered lens, something that the media has been reluctant to do for far too long.
13. Beyoncé danced in front of the world — and a gigantic feminist banner.Remember the bizarre spectacle that was last year’s VMAs? For all those wondering if they would ever get Robin Thicke’s gyrations out of their nightmares, Beyoncé’s 16-minute performance was quite literally a sight for sore eyes. The world’s biggest diva proved feminism wasn’t just accessible, it was cool. As Time remarked, the entire show was about women’s empowerment. From Swift’s lively performance with exclusively male backup dancers to Nicki Minaj’s assertive “Anaconda,” the performances gave many of us hope for a future music industry that respects and highlights its female talent.
15. Lupita Nyong’o forced Hollywood to take blackness seriously.After becoming only the fifth black woman to receive a best supporting actress award for her role in 12 Years a Slave, Nyong’o set off on a whirlwind awards tour, earning a Glamour Woman of the Year honor and the Essence magazine Black Woman in Hollywood Breakthrough Award. Proving that she was as brilliant as she was beautiful, Nyong’o’s speech on body image and blackness was deeply moving.
“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful,” she told the Essence audience. “I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin.” The path to self-acceptance is hard, she noted, but finally coming to terms with the idea that beauty comes in many shades has changed her life.
24. Crafty crafters did amazing things in Hobby Lobby stores.
After the Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor, effectively allowing the crafting giant to stop providing birth control in female employees’ insurance packages, clever and crafty feminists took to the aisles, expressing their frustration via pro-woman messages left in stores across the nation. The best part? Male customers also got in the fun. It’s good to know that you don’t have to be a lady to appreciate the responsibility of for-profit corporations to provide comprehensive contraceptive care.
30. The MTA took a stand against “man-spreading.”
In an encouraging move, New York transit announced in the fall it was beginning a campaign to combat the amount of space some men take up in public. The problem, sometimes known as “man-spreading,” “lava balls” or “subway sprawl,” will be tackled through awareness programs the MTA is planning to roll out in January 2015. While women may miss witty feminist Tumblrs like Your Balls Aren’t That Big, we certainly won’t miss having to deal with men’s wide-legged dominance on a daily basis.
34. Feminists finally got us talking about Bill Cosby.
Allegations against Cosby have been around for years, but for some reason (ahem, misogyny), the mainstream media took a while to actually star caring about it. But that all changed after comedian Hannibal Buress’ routine woke the not-so-sleeping giant of the feminist network.
Overnight, activists left the media no choice but to pay attention, a movement solidified after savvy Internet users hijacked a promotional chat, R. Kelly style. In the wake of this outpouring of support, even more women have come forward to tell their own stories of alleged abuse at the hands of the venerable comedian.
Thursday evening. Clear and cool, 55 degrees.
I took Olivia home late this afternoon and then went to the movies with Eamonn. He has really wanted to see Fury, so I said that I would go with him. Got home just a bit ago, and boy, am I tired.
Catching up on the backlog on the DVR. Jon Stewart has been in Austin, Texas all week, and it’s been exactly as you would have imagined it. Here, have some “Daily Show” sarcasm:
From “The Daily Show” (October 29, 2014):
Al Madrigal covers the immigrant problem in Texas
See the full clip below:
Friday afternoon. Partly cloudy and autumnal, 67 degrees.
So . . . hmm . . . a whole lot of nothing going on in my head . . . actually, too much to sift through . . .
The dogs kept me up most of the night, well, up and down and up and down. There must have been some kind of critter in the back yard that had their interest. The highlight of my evening was watching the finale of “Project Runway,” which I still like, even after 13 seasons. Tried to read and couldn’t. Tried to watch something else, and couldn’t. Not really sure what’s going on.
At least I finally got the x-rays on both of my hands done yesterday afternoon, something my pain management doctor prescribed weeks ago. Funny how I hadn’t noticed how weird my left thumb is looking, as in misshapen. Love this getting older stuff. Oh well . . .
This week’s headline:
You don’t say . . .
And another good one:
That these two were friends (they went to Julliard together) is absolutely amazing:
Have you ever ridden in an Intelevator? Me neither.
It’s long, but worth it, especially around 5:40.
Where do I get some of this?
Crime and Punishment: He did what?
Crime and Punishment: World’s worst robber?
The hell, you say?
Too bad the U.S. doesn’t have the guts Canada has in this instance:
Love the pun:
Moral of the story? Always check for newts . . .
Twitter responses to pumpkin riot in New Hampshire hand conservative pundits their own words . . . with a twist:
Love this story:
To read the judge’s lyrics, click here.
And finally, let’s turn the tables on birth control:
“If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.” ~ Chris Clarke, from How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men
Thursday afternoon. Partly cloudy and cooler, 74 degrees.
We have Olivia again today. Alexis has gotten a job at the pizza place just a few blocks from their house. Let’s hope this works out for everyone. Corey is enjoying immensely the time that he’s getting to spend with the bébé, and she loves being with him. I put some Mardi Gras beads on her, and she said, “Show granddaddy?”
Her vocabulary is amazing for a two-year-old, and people think that I’m bragging because she’s ours, but truly, what two-year-old can say with accuracy, “That’s a J” when “Blue’s Clues” pops a big J on the screen and asks what letter it is? She recognizes letters and numbers up to 10, and sometimes up to 20. Even Alexis wasn’t this smart at this age, and she was pretty damned smart.
I’m loving all of it, in spite of feeling pretty horrible. Oh well. Good things.
And speaking of parents and amazing children, I wanted to update you on the ongoing Sulkowicz story. The following letter from her parents is well worth reading in its entirety.
More later. Peace.
“It is clear that Columbia’s misunderstanding of the psychology of sexual assault survivors has contributed to abysmal rates of reporting, with even lower rates of those who continue to an investigation.”
An open letter to President Bollinger and the board of trustees
On April 18, 2013, our daughter, Emma Sulkowicz, CC ’15, reported that she was raped by a fellow student to the Office of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct.
What followed was a prolonged, degrading, and ultimately fruitless process. It was an injury to her humanity from what was once, for her, a trusted institution. The trauma of this process has contributed to the rerouting of her life, her identity, and the form of her self-expression as an artist.
Emma’s performance piece, “Carry That Weight,” has galvanized forces around the world for gender equality, sexual assault policy reform, and empowerment of the disenfranchised, and has received praise from the art world. Needless to say, we are proud.
However, as Emma’s parents, we do not want her recent celebrity to be a distraction from the fact that the University’s failure to place sanctions on the man she reported for rape, Jean-Paul Nungesser, CC ’15 (whose name has previously been published by Spectator), is a cause of her continued suffering. The investigation, hearing, and appeals process that followed her complaint to the University were painfully mishandled. We feel that they violated standards of impartiality, fairness, and serious attention to the facts of the case.
This right here makes me so very, very happy:
From BBC News:
Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.
At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize.
The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK.
Malala said she was “honoured” to receive the award, saying it made her feel “more powerful and courageous”.
She revealed she found out the news after being called out of her chemistry class at her school in Birmingham.
“I’m really happy to be sharing this award with a person from India,” she said at a news conference, before joking that she couldn’t pronounce Mr Satyarthi’s surname.
The Nobel committee praised the pair’s “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”.
Mr Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.
The 60-year-old founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.
Reacting to the news, Mr Satyarthi told the BBC: “It’s a great honour for all the Indians, it’s an honour for all those children who have been still living in slavery despite of all the advancement in technology, market and economy.
“And I dedicate this award to all those children in the world.”
80 Percent of Female Restaurant Workers Say They’ve Been Harassed by Customers ~ Headline on sexual harassment article
Wednesday, late afternoon. Sunny and 81 degrees.
I came across this article in The Telegraph the other day and have been holding it, trying to decide how to approach it. I’ve finally decided that the best approach is the direct one: I’m posting the first half of the article with a link to the complete copy instead of just summarizing it.
Look, just from recent conversations with Corey it has been hammered home to me that the whole idea of sexual politics, sexual assault, sexual harassment will always be viewed differently by the sexes. Men can relate, but they cannot understand, not as a woman. And women can understand how precarious it is for men to be out there, walking on proverbial eggshells, but we may not sympathize.
While some men (most?) see catcalls as being flattering, most women (some?) find them anything but. Just because I put on something nice and I’m walking down this sidewalk, it doesn’t mean that I want complete strangers to hoot at me and tell me how they want to bend my body in weird ways. I didn’t get dressed with your approval in mind, and your admonition that I would look so much better if I smiled doesn’t matter one iota to me, and frankly, did I tell you that your polyester striped tie with the egg stain would look so much better in the trash?
Since I was a teenager I have walked to my car with my keys in my hand, parked beneath street lights whenever possible, etc. I know not to park between two vans or in a blind spot. Ask a male if he ever thinks about holding his keys as weapons in his hand. Ask a man if he ever wonders if someone is going to jump out from a dense hedge and attack him. Ask a man if his father ever gave him pepper spray as a gift.
Conversely, what happens to the guy who is just doing his job, who has a female co-worker come on to him, and that same guy refuses her. What is his recourse when she reports him for harassment? Will the supervisor believe the man or the woman?
It’s all far too complex to whittle it down to a few pat phrases or to tackle in just one post. I could dedicate a blog to this topic, and there are countless ones out there already (take a look at just this one page of the Huffington Post on sexual harassment). I mean, just consider a few key news items from the past few months involving the NFL, American Apparel, the military, Congress, Tinder, Yahoo, and on and on and on . . .
I just know that I can never sleep with my doors unlocked or my windows open, at least not here, and maybe not anywhere. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve known women who have been victims of it, and I’ve been a victim, too—a victim of the groping and the hooting, the unwanted touches and the leers.
We tell our daughters just to ignore it, to be safe, to be aware. But what do we tell our sons?
Woman vows to confront ‘cowards’ after being punched for challenging groper ~ The Telegraph (27 August 2014)
Mary Brandon was left with horrific facial injuries after a man punched her in the face because she told him to stop groping her
By Claire Carter
A woman who needed hospital treatment because a man punched her in the face after she told him to stop groping her has vowed not to let threats of violence stop her challenging sexual assaults.
Mary Brandon was dancing with friends when her bottom was groped by the man at Notting Hill Carnival in west London during the Bank Holiday weekend.
But when she told the man to stop and not repeat what he was doing, he punched her in the face with such force she had to be taken to hospital and was left with a swollen face and painful bruising.
The 22-year-old has shared images of her injuries on Facebook and claimed she would be punched again rather than let the “coward” get away with it. The image has been shared thousands of times.
Ms Brandon has thanked the NHS nurses and carnival officials who helped her on Monday after the attack.
She has also posted a message criticising her attacker and his sexist violence next to the photo. She described him groping her and said when she asked him to stop, he did the same again.
“I pushed him away, exercising my right to tell man to stop touching my body without permission, so he took a swing at me and punched me in the face,” she wrote.
The graphic image showed her right eye bloodied and bulging, with bruising across her face, which needed treatment at the carnival and in hospital.
She added: “Carnival is supposed to be about community and good vibes.
“I wanted to have a good time but instead I spent nine hours in A&E because of this coward.
“A woman should be able to leave the house without fear of being sexually assaulted.
“And she should be able to defend herself without being put in hospital.
“The saddest this about this for me was discussing with my friends afterward whether in future it would be best not to do anything at all.
“Maybe it would be safer to just ignore it when someone invades your space and body.”
Police said there were a number of assaults and sexual assaults reported to have taken place at the carnival.
Ms Brandon added: “I can honestly say I will always stand up to someone who thinks they can get away with this behaviour and I would take a punch again from this loser or any other loser who thinks it is ok to treat women like this.”
Read the rest of the article here.
“Wednesday” by Olivia Cole