Posts tagged women
Posts tagged women
The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power.
1. Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame. It’s not good for us. Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing representations, is important.
2. Female public nudity is usually treated as a moral offense, a cause for concern and discussion, but it’s rarely allowed to be a source of non-sexual female power. Male nudity is an entirely different thing. When your average (straight) man is seen nude or semi-nude, it’s often considered humorous, as in frat boys streaking. Or it’s a sign of virility and athleticism. When it’s not, for example, the jarring images of the torture of Iraqi men in Abu Ghraib, men – vulnerable, humiliated and in pain – are feminized by their nakedness.
3. Female nudity is not just about sexualization, it’s about maintaining social hierarchies, like those of race and class. Non-idealized female bodies used autonomously undermine a continuous narrative about body-based sex and race differences. When our cultural production is singularly focused on hyper-gendered, racialized and sexualized representations of nudity, it is easier to maintain racist and sexist ideas – and nude female bodies outside socially approved, sexualized contexts challenge those.
The cultural regulation of female nudity and portrayals of sexuality is also a powerful way in which women’s bodies are used to pit us against one another and to reinforce hierarchies among men. Dark bodies, especially women’s, have always been available for public consumption: sale, rape, breeding, medical experimentation and more and the staying power of racist and sexist mythologies about white women and black men, rape and sex, are evident every day. When women take ownership of the circumstances of their own nudity, they can defy others’ attempts to place them within these hierarchies. Dunham’s casual yet implicitly confrontational nudity in some ways refuses to cater to the myth of the vulnerable, pure, white woman that serves as a racist backdrop to portrayals of black women as inferior. But very few black women have the ability to challenge dominant representations of their bodies and roles in the way that Dunham does, however, and that, too, is a function of our hierarchies.
4. Female public nakedness as protest or social commentary is not new and is critical, expressive and censored speech. Lady Godiva is far from the only woman to use her nudity to achieve political ends. Barbara Sutton’s excellent recounting of her experiences with naked protests in Brazil is chock-full of historical and analytical insights. Women have regularly used their nakedness to protest corruption and exploitation that go along with colonialism. It’s among the most important reasons why Femen’s (topless) neocolonial narrative is offensive. Prior to Tunisia’s Amina Sboui’s topless protest (after which she was arrested, subjected to a virginity test and fled), Egyptian activist Aalia Magda (also in exile) posted pictures of herself naked to protest Shariah law and censorship. Last January, hundreds of women in the Niger Delta marched half-naked in protests against Shell Oil Company practices in their community. This was a repeat of earlier and similar protests. These were peaceful, unlike last month’s in Argentina when an estimated 7,000 women stormed a cathedral defended by 1,500 rosary-bearing Catholic men. They fought, spat, yelled, spray-painted people and were accused, without a shred of irony, of gender-based violence against Catholic men. Many of these women were topless.
The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to recognizing forced marriage as an issue of violence against women, Maitra said. And many agencies and individuals could help but don’t get involved because they think of it as a cultural practice and not domestic violence.
She is apparently the only one being irresponsible and selfish.
the complete set of posters, made by students at New College of Florida.
proceeds to print out and plaster these everywhere
JANE GOODALL: In England, born in London, moved out to Bournemouth on the coast because of World War II. And when I was 10 years old, we had very little money. When I was 10 years old, I loved—I loved books, and I used to haunt the secondhand bookshop. And I found a little book I could just afford, and I bought it, and I took it home. And I climbed up my favorite tree, and I read that book from cover to cover. And that was Tarzan of the Apes. I immediately fell in love with Tarzan. And goodness, I mean, he married the wrong Jane, didn’t he?
At any rate, I was 10 years old, and I decided I would grow up, go to Africa, live with animals and write books about them. Everybody laughed at me. How would I do that? Not only no money, Africa, the “Dark Continent,” but, you know, I was a girl. Girls didn’t do that sort of thing. I think I was amazingly blessed because of the mother I had. But for her, I doubt I would be sitting here now. So, where everybody else said to me, “Jane, dream about something you can afford; forget this nonsense about Africa,” she said, “If you really want something and you work hard and you take advantage of opportunity and you never give up, you will find a way.”
Ten Things I Know to Be True:
Women inspire me.
Women are brave.
Women are strong.
Women are beautiful.
Women are fighters.
Women are creative.
I would not wish to live without women.
“If You Can’t Prevent Rape, You Enjoy It,” Says India’s Head of Police
“If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,” said Ranjit Sinha, the head of India’s police department, at a conference on Tuesday.
Yeah, that might be one of the dumbest comments about rape we’ve ever heard an official say… and that’s including Todd Akin’s claim that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate” rape.
“I am pro-life,” she told a University of Texas at Brownsville crowd on Tuesday. “I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future. I care about life and I have a record of fighting for people above all else.”
“This isn’t about protecting abortion,” Davis explained in the same appearance. “It’s about protecting women. It’s about trusting women to make good decisions for themselves and empowering them with the tools to do that.”
Texas Gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis
A Basic Fact About Breasts That Could Save Your Life: And The Forces Trying to Keep it Under Wraps. Important information about breasts has been kept from women, increasing the risk of undetected cancer.
When Nancy Cappello was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer in early 2004, she was baffled. Less than three months earlier, she’d received normal results on her mammogram, just as she always had from her annual screenings, which she was diligent about. Her doctor found a lump during a standard manual exam that turned out to be cancer that had spread to 13 lymph nodes and most likely been developing for years.
One in eight. That’s how many women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. This grim statistic lands in the spotlight during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is currently underway.
But, for all of the awareness raised about breast cancer over the years, there’s a certain term that is largely left out of the lexicon surrounding breast cancer,the most common cancer in women. It’s a term Connecticut resident and cancer survivor Nancy Cappello has spent nearly a decade fighting to retrieve from the shadows and inject into the conversation. This term is “breast density.”
“If you look in the news this October, it’ll be pink, pink, pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month,” says Cappello. “I call it breast density unawareness—many women still do not know of breast density, or if they’ve heard of it, they don’t know what it really means to them.”
Breast density refers to the ratio of tissue to fat in a woman’s breast. A dense breast has more fibroglandular tissue and less fat. Forty percent of women have dense tissue, according to the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), which is significant because these women are five times more likely to develop breast cancer. They’re also less likely to have it detected on a mammogram.
The French Senate has voted to ban beauty pageants for children under 16 in an effort to protect young girls from “hyper sexualisation” too early in life, France’s The Local reported.
Under the new laws, anyone who organizes or enters a child under the age of 16 into a pageant may now face up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to €30,000 ($40,000 USD).
The Senate backed the move by 196-146 votes as a amendment to a law on women’s rights proposed by conservative lawmaker Senator Chantal Jouanno, author of “Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight for Equality””
“Let’s not let our daughters think from such a young age that they will be judged according to their appearance. Let’s not let commercial interest impact on social interest,” Jouanno told the Senate.
However, not all were in favor of the move with Michel Le Parmentier who has organized the “mini-Miss” pageants in France since 1989 saying that regulations rather than a ban would have been a more appropriate solution.
Beauty contests in France and worldwide have been rife with controversy and subject to public outrage in recent months following a number of incidents including a contest dethroned for posing in semi-naked photographs; a Vogue magazine cover which featured a provocative image of a 10-year-old girl and the recent disappearance of a beauty queen and her mother days before she was to compete in a competition.
Such pageants which involve dressing girls up to look like adults with extreme hair and makeup have been criticized for sending a negative message to young girls – namely that they are sexual beings that should be judged by their physical appearance.
Furthermore, advertising and marketing campaigns have been guilty of promoting children as sexual objects with some designers even selling lingerie for girls as young as 4.
Yet, the problem is not isolated only to child beauty contests. This week, the newly crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri, was subject to numerous cruel and racial taunts on social media based on her physical appearance – that she was the first woman of Indian descent to with the pageant, USA Today reported.
The 24-year-old was referred to as “the arab”, while at least one commentator called her a terrorist. Such an incident raises another concern with the Miss America and similar beauty contests which is how female ‘accomplishments’ are inextricably linked to physical beauty in our society.
While all the Miss America contestants are arguably smart, educated and talented women, they’re reduced to sex objects under a glassy façade of selecting a ‘role model’ to represent ‘American womanhood’, as Equality for Women lamented:
“Here’s the problem with Miss America/Miss USA: remove the college degrees, charitable endeavors, advocacy efforts, and otherwise wonderful personality traits….
…and what you still have is a “tradition” that tells young women and girls that their success will forever be scaled on how conventionally beautiful they are, the sparkle and sheen of their ball-gowns, and how well they strut in stilettos and a bikini for a panel of judges that assign them role-model-worthiness based on that,” the feminist community Facebook group said.
Bad Parenting on an Epic Scale
Dustin Hoffman on playing a woman in Tootsie (1982)
“If I was going to be a woman, I would want to be as beautiful as possible. And they said to me, ‘Uh, that’s as beautiful as we can get you.’ And I went home and started crying to my wife, and I said, ‘I have to make this picture.’ And she said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because I think I’m an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen, and I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill, physically, the demands that we’re brought up to think that women have to have in order for us to ask them out.’ She says, ‘What are you saying?’ and I said, ‘There’s too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.’ It was not what it felt like to be a woman. It was what it felt like to be someone that people didn’t respect, for the wrong reasons. I know it’s a comedy. But comedy’s a serious business.”