Feminist Friday: A Bandit, a Pussy Riot, and Lots of Gold Medals

This Week in Feminist Punk Rock Bad-Assery

Three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot went on trial on Friday and, wow, things seem to have gone the wrong kind of insane. For example, witnesses for the defense don’t seem to have been allowed in the building. The women have been held since March for “hooliganism” and religious hatred after holding a concert at a Moscow cathedral. 

Oh, and there is just a teeny possibility that their arrest might have had something to do with the fact that the band was openly critical of Vladimir Putin. Essentially, no one is expecting a fair trial. On the other hand, the international attention and loud protests from other musicians seems to have Putin himself counseling against too harsh a sentence. 

Expect to hear a verdict August 17. 

Photo courtesy of Pussy Riot’s Facebook page

Speaking of the Need to Start a Pussy Riot…

Louisiana’s Delhi Charter School is dealing with teen pregnancy by starting a comprehensive, practical sex education program that puts responsibility on both boys and girls and makes sure that young women feel confident and in control of their own bodies. No, wait, not that. The other thing: They are forcing girls to take mandatory pregnancy tests and kicking out any girl who is pregnant… And any girl who refuses to take the test gets kicked out too. 

And North Carolina state representative Larry Pittman says that the nice Planned Parenthood nurse practitioners who were the only reason I could afford yearly exams during my twenties are horrible murderers who should be executed. He seems like a swell guy, doesn’t he? Real level-headed. 

This Week in Not Helping

The New York Comedy Festival announced its 2012 lineup… With zero women in it. Organizers swear they’ll work some chicks in there somewhere.  

And io9 pointed out that we’re not doing future humans any favors by imposing sexist roles on our robots

This next story drives me straight up the walls: A female bank robber racked up six robberies and two attempted robberies in Southern California, and the suspect appeared in federal court this Wednesday. Her method was, by all accounts, unusual. She’d just walk in, no mask or bandana or anything, and hand a teller a note claiming that she had an accomplice outside and asking for money. No guns, totally calm, nards out. An FBI agent pointed out that she was “more brazen” than most bank robbers. 

But what did the local police and national media nickname her? The Plain Jane Bandit.

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?!?! Really? We, as a culture, are going out of our way to let even bank robbers know that they could be so cute if they just put on a little makeup and maybe got a fun hair scrunchie? I am not – repeat, not – suggesting for even one second that bank robbery or any form of crime is awesome or something for feminists to emulate.

What I am doing is wondering at what point a woman in the United States is allowed to stop thinking about her appearance for 30 seconds. It’s not while you’re making gymnastics history, and it’s not when you have turned to a life of crime. When the sexist freaking blazes is it? Check out the make-up jobs at a funeral sometime – it sure as hell isn’t when you’re dead.

Really, media? The woman is supposed to think about when the teller drawers are at maximum capacity, what her alternate getaway route is, and whether the arresting officers will think she’s hot enough?

You know what? I don’t even care if the cops gave her that nickname. But the reporters have no excuse for perpetuating that crap nationwide just for a catchy headline. The Who Gives a Rat About Her Rouge and Lipstick Because She Is a Freaking Bank Robber Bandit will be back in court this August. If you see an article or watch a story with that hammer-dumb, sexist nickname in it, please be sure to call or tweet the reporter in question – and the editor and/or producer If you can find them – and ask if they really should have done serious crime analysis with their bangs looking like that.

On the other hand, let’s not forget that women of achievement should also not be too pretty, lest the New York Times run a vicious hit piece. Slate alone ran two different responses, and the Times itself noted that it might have made an oopsie

This Week in Just Plain Horrible

The Ugandan government is screening all non-governmental organizations to weed out the ones that are “promoting vices like homosexuality.” As the groups that “promote homosexuality” are often what rational people call “human rights organizations,” that’s going to suck all around.

Not to mention the idea that you can “promote” same-sex attraction. Dude, if you can watch the Olympics and not get turned gay and back 60 or 80 times, you’re probably safe. Say, who’s been spreading the dumbcluck idea that you can turn people gay and there are nefarious cabals that are actively trying to do so? Oh, that’s right: American Evangelical groups. Thanks, guys.

Not that those groups can’t do plenty of damage right here at home. This week, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer advocated kidnapping the children of same-sex couples. And literal Bible-thumping protesters threatened lesbians at a Michigan Gay Day event with punitive rape. Yep, that’s what Jesus had in mind. 

This picture made the rounds on Twitter, showing a real human woman marked up to show what a life-size Barbie’s proportions would look like. Eek. 

Photo via Twitter

This Week in Thinky

Our friend Jennifer Vanasco analyzed the way women in the Olympics are covered by the media – with some notes on the extra hoops of gender testing that some female athletes have to go through.

…And in contrast to Jennifer’s article, I kind of hate articles with the soft premise of this one: “Sure, yes, women in tech, but isn’t it great when they get to be girls?!?!” I think there are lots of ways to be female and feminist and even nerdy. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to be both chic and taken seriously. I just don’t like how gleefully eager the writer of this article is to stuff smart women back into a girly pink box. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

While we’re talking about the many different ways one can choose to look awesome, our own Lucy Hallowell e-mailed me this week and pointed out that Cover Girl has added Pink as a spokeswoman… Adding her to their already stunningly cool lineup of boxer (and Olympic bronze medalist) Marlen Esparza, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Latifah, and Sofia Vergara. That’s a pretty interesting and diverse lineup of looks. Also I would very much like to be invited to that party. Between that and sponsoring the most wonderfully crazy show on television, Cover Girl is making some bold moves. Or at least acknowledging that there’s more than one kind of moving in the world.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

This Week in Awesome

Shannon Eastin became the first female NFL official Thursday night. The Los Angeles Times says she “performed respectably.” 

Whoopsie! The Yes on 8 Campaign – the people who worked so very hard to save straight marriage by getting same-sex marriage banned in California – got caught violating campaign disclosure laws. That’s not the awesome part. The awesome part is the part where ProtectMarriage.com is facing a $49,000 fine. Hahahahaha!

The U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team won the gold! And our good friends at The Rachel Maddow Show dug out this picture of Rachel Maddow with Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger, Heather O’Reilly, and Lori Lindsay from when they visited during last year’s World Cup. We think this was a good idea.

Rachel loves athletes. Like boxer Claressa Shields and her wonderful hometown fans. Get ready to grin your face off.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(And, yes: Claressa performed respectably.)

The Daily Mail ran a really interesting article on women from conservative Isalmic countries who made it to the Olympics. Could you train while men from your own country were shouting “Get back in your house!” at you? The article makes the great point that you don’t need to win any medals when you know you’re nudging progress forward.

Actress and comedian Shaun Landry took a different approach to Olympic coverage and focused on how much the women are doing for Team USA, complete with her very own hashtag.

…And some of the women who kicked so much ass to inspire that hashtag opened up a nice, fresh can of Shut the Hell Up for people who were nitpicking at their appearance.

Kate Beaton introduced us to the terrifying Straw Feminists. I love her so much, you guys. 

This Week in My Own Horn

I leave you with my own little tribute to the Olympic spirit. 

Have a great weekend. Get out there and follow your wildest dreams.

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