Feminist Friday: Not a Heart of Stone


Happy Friday, you gutsy dames! Did you know that this was National Women’s Health Week? In honor of that, wingnuts stopped passing Draconian laws on your ladybits for 30 seconds.

Ha, ha! No. No, of course they didn’t. But Planned Parenthood did publish a handy chart to let you know what should get covered in your well woman exam.

Now that you’re all informed and ready to show your doctor who knows her radius from her ulna, let’s dive in. As always, we will start with things that make us want to hit the walls with a sturdy iron skillet, and proceed to what is awesome.

This Week in Utter Jerkness

You know how the Republican party line is that there is no war on women and, gawrsh, they don’t even know what we purty li’l things are talking about so why don’t we go bring some coffee and a nice slice of Bundt cake?

Yeah, not so much. Veracity Stew posted an exhaustive (and exhausting) chart showing while that is complete bushwah. That weird feeling you’ve been noticing wasn’t unease caused by the subpar guacamole at chain sandwich shops, it was your body noticing that your control over your own ladybusiness is being yanked away. And your body is pissed.

Oh, hi, women of Kansas! How well do you know your doctor and your pharmacist? Better start researching their views and sending them little trinkets to keep them well disposed to you now, because Governor Sam “All Up in Your Ladybits” Brownback signed a bill saying that either of them can refuse to give you contraception. It’s all about their conscience and judgment. Yours is irrelevant.

Speaking of pissed, the excellent Laura Conaway over at the MaddowBlog reported on Mississippi State representative Bubba (!) Carpenter, who acknowledged that the state’s new law designed to force the state’s lone abortion clinic out might cause an upswing in unsafe coat hanger abortions.

"But hey," he continued, "You have to have moral values." Really. He said that. Home surgery with dry cleaning accessories got dismissed with "But hey."

Ms. Conaway’s reported conversation with Rep Carpenter is a jaw-dropper for several reasons. As is the video of his speech, which rocketed around the web this week. …Until the Alcorn County GOP decided that maybe their delightfully flippant coat hangery fun wasn’t playing so well with the masses and they disabled embedding for the clip. You can find it right here, though, should you need to get the bile flowing.

As if they weren’t doing enough yeoman’s work over there, Rachel Maddow did a laser-sharp segment on the disgusting attempts to water down the Violence Against Women Act. You’ll want to watch the whole thing, but the speech by Representative Gwen Moore (D – WI), herself a victim of sexual violence, is one of the most moving examples of righteous anger I have ever seen. That, ladies, is how you make a speech. She is amazing.

This Week in Not Helping

The intrepid Karman Kregloe, who loves finding celebrity political news and killing my buzz, alerted me to the fact that Roseanne Barr is still running for president. Yes, of the United States.

Ms. Barr, I will always love you a little bit because you are known for tipping the living spit out of waiters and waitresses, and I agree that we need viable third, fourth, and fifth parties in this country. But ma’am, we need serious candidates in those parties, and that isn’t you. Please. We are busy right now.

Also not helping? "Fans" of top Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai, who are mad at her for not being immediately thin after giving birth six whole months ago. Us Magazine quoted a video comment that said that as a Bollywood star, “it is her duty to look good and fit.” Well. I certainly hope she has learned her lesson and is not doing something silly like enjoying her family while lightly flipping the bird at jerktoasts in all directions.

And it’s not just a few jerktoasts – check out this screen grab of my Google search.

(If you are not familiar with Ms. Rai’s work, you need to drop whatever you are doing – even if it involves nuclear weapons – and see Endhiran, which I can say without exaggeration might be the most amazing movie I have ever seen. Not the best, mind you, but definitely the most amazing. If you think they are giving away all the gold in this trailer, you are sorely mistaken.

Seriously: I’ve seen it three times and it was worth every single minute of those nine hours.

This Week in Things to Think About

The French feminist group La Barbe (The Beard) published a vicious burn of an open letter in Le Monde taking on the absence of women in the Cannes Film Festival. They took on the slate of 22 films with 22 male directors and noted the fact that only one woman has ever won the Palme d’Or for directing. (Jane Campion for The Piano, way back in 1993.) Best quote? "Men are fond of the depth of women, but only in their cleavage."

The Wrap quoted a female juror, director Andrea Arnold, who said, "I’d absolutely hate it if my film got selected only because I’m a woman. I would only want my film to be selected for the right reason, not out of charity." Ms. Arnold went on to point out that there aren’t any films directed by women at Cannes because there still aren’t many films directed by women. What’s your take?

In more upsetting artistic dilemmas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has an exhibit on Gertrude Stein, Alan Dershowitz is complaining that the museum has deliberately and completely squashed mentions of the fact that she was a Nazi collaborator. (They aren’t the first – I had no idea until I read the article.) I like the work of plenty of people who are known jerks and just try to overlook that part, but that gets a lot trickier when you move from "jerk" to "open fan of Hitler." The museum says that this is about her art, not her horrible, horrible political leanings. I understand their argument, but it’s a tough one to get on board with.

Also to think about: io9 ran an article entitled "The World’s Oldest Cave Art is of a Vagina." (Or, really, of a vulva, but there’s no need to fight about it.) I’ll be honest: That interpretation is not the one to which I would have leapt. I’m trying to avoid saying that it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s not working.

As much as I am a fan of both cave art and ladybits, and as much as I would like this to be true, I still don’t see it. That thing looks like a stingray to me. Anyway, if you’re an anthropology dork – And who isn’t? Oh, right: Most people. – it makes for an interesting read and something to think about.

This Week in Good

I saw this one on Friday after last week’s column was published. I don’t care if it’s technically from last week, it’s too good not to share. Highly underrated news anchor Tamron Hall took on Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner. She tried to ask him some real questions about the Romney campaign’s response to reports of his creepy high school bullying, and Carney instead blowhards about the media instead of answering the question, not to mention interrupting and talking over her. Ms. Hall is not having it.

Best exchange: Carney “I’m actually trying to go meta-meta on you…” Hall: “You don’t want me to go anything on you, because you’re actually irritating me right now.”

I’m usually for keeping one’s cool in debate, but I have to admit I enjoyed the daylights out of that. Ms. Hall hit her limit with spin, and the news might be more useful if more anchors did the same. Not to mention more fun.

You know who is also fun? Smart, witty feminists who make superfun movies and shows. (Joss Whedon, you guys. I’m talking about Joss Whedon.) (Psst. Have you seen Cabin in the Woods yet? NO, DON’T SPOIL IT! Just blink once if you thought it was fantastic and twice if you thought it was incredibly amazingly delightfully fantastic.)

Anyway, Joss continues to win points in Feminist Heaven, this time by suggesting that he’d like to see more female heroes in Avengers 2. The article busts a gut concern-trolling and wondering if Marvel could introduce more female heroes in other movies. Right. Because when has Joss Whedon had any luck with introducing compelling female characters?

You know who else is fun? The Obama Campaign, who updated their website to properly indicate that two lesbian moms are married! And boxer Floyd Mayweather, who supports gay marriage and people living the way they want!

And lesbian pirates! You heard me. A hat tip to io9 again for pointing the way to I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates, a web comic whose gist is fairly self-explanatory.

The comic has a charming old-fashioned visual style, and may be mildly unsafe for viewing at the office. Unless you work on a lesbian pirate ship, in which case you should draw yourself a tasty mug of grog and carry on.

And finally, The Mary Sue Rounded up some Bad-ass Disney princesses to get you charging into your weekend. I didn’t think I could love Belle more. I was wrong. So very wrong.

Get your own bad-assery on and have a great weekend.

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