This Week in Ladybits
Uterus-obsessed Paul Ryan is co-sponsoring a new personhood bill that seeks to grant full rights to a single cell. How fascinating. I would very much like to see Congressman Ryan build himself a house out of a single acorn cell.
One point in favor of Ryan’s argument is that there do seem to be some single-cell organisms that have a better learning curve than Ryan himself. Why don’t you go ahead and run for Vice President or President on a radical anti-woman platform again, Congressman? It worked out just super the last time.
Planned Parenthood is moving away from the word “choice” because people don’t freaking know what words mean. I guess it’s a practical decision, so I will try to suppress my inner logic nerd. But seriously: This is happening because people don’t know what words mean.
Rachel Maddow showed us why Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense might be a bad thing for U.S. servicewomen.
To mark Roe v. Wade’s upcoming 40th anniversary, the Guttmacher Institute released some fascinating infographics about abortion in the United States. See the whole set on their website.
In good ladybits news, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of an anti-abortion group that wanted to be exempt from campaign financial disclosure rules. Uh-huh. All about personal responsibility.
And Kotex has launched a new campaign aimed at adolescents and younger women called “Generation Know.” It’s a blatant marketing effort, but at least it’s a marketing effort that takes the point of women that women are smart and myths about ladybits are bad. Guarded optimism.
This Week in Horrible
Two Los Angeles police officers have been accused of threatening women with arrest if they wouldn’t have sex with them.
The father of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the Indian gang-rape victim who died in the hospital last week, has released her name because, he said, he does not want her to be an anonymous victim. He says he is proud of his daughter and hopes that other women will draw strength from her memory.
Meanwhile, you’ll never guess who the defendants’ lawyer says is at fault. And Feministing gave us a treasury of helpful slut-shaming advice on how not to get raped from prominent Indian public figures. Sohalia Abdulali wrote in the New York Times on the pervasive message that the real victim of rape is a woman’s “virtue.”
But lest we point too many fingers, Poulami Roychowdhury reminds us that demonizing Indian culture isn’t the solution, and that rape is all too pervasive all over the world. And, indeed, Jessica Valenti in The Nation notes that America has a rape problem of its own. Case in point: Notre Dame’s apparent policy of covering up sexual assaults committed by its football players.
And Soraya Chemaly writes in The Huffington Post that rape has a purpose.
This Week in Ugh
Hey, serial chauvinist Joe Scarborough, whose whole schtick is interrupting your female co-host with sniggering “naughty” frat-boy crap all morning long, could you tell us again how you’re not a chauvinist? Preferably while yelling and imperiously snapping your fingers at that very same co-host? That would be awesome.
The New York Post’s Linda Stasi was supposed to review the new season of Girls, but she also provided the helpful service of letting us know how much she dislikes Lena Dunham’s body and how much she dislikes Dunham for having the gall to do nude scenes and suggest that men might be attracted to her when she’s imperfect. XOJane is not having it.
Oh, and the ever-charming Rush Limbaugh says that liberals are fighting for LGBT rights to “normalize pedophilia.” I can’t decide if Limbaugh is a worse person if he actually believes the santorum that comes out of his mouth, or if he’s worse if he’s just spewing that hateful nonsense to make money. If supernatural beings exist and they care about karmic justice, those two versions of Rush will be forced to make out with each other in Hell.
This Week in Are You Kidding Me
You know how every now and then you have one of those moments when you were going along with your life thinking that everything is all fine and 2013-ish, and then suddenly you realize you’re actually living in eighteen-thirty-goddamned-six? Women in California had that moment when a the Second District Court of Appeals overturned a rape conviction because the women who was raped was, for real, not married.
The woman had gone to sleep while her boyfriend was at her home with some other friends. When her boyfriend left, the woman’s attacker entered the woman’s darkened room and began to have sex with her. When the woman realized the attacker was not her boyfriend, she yelled. The attacker ran away, but was caught and convicted. According to California’s archaic laws, the conviction would have been upheld if the victim had been married, but there isn’t technically a California law against raping a woman by impersonating her boyfriend.
Well goodness, California jurists, what if the woman is known for riding about on a pennyfarthing bike without a chaperone? What if she’s known for wearing bloomers and trying to read novels?
No, wait, stay with me. It gets stupider.
There is, of course, a law in California against raping a sleeping person, because freaking duh. It seems like that might be a really good resource if one wanted to uphold that rape conviction for that guy who clearly committed rape, doesn’t it? Sort of a really, really good legal fallback? Well, that’s where you and I would be wrong, because the three judges on the panel said they couldn’t be sure whether the jury had convicted on the completely obvious sleeping thing or on the impersonating the woman’s boyfriend thing, and thus had to overturn the conviction.
Really? The judges decided to give weight to Jesuitical legal nitpicking over the fact that we know a woman was raped and we know who did it?
So the rapist will get a new trial, not just get let off scot-free, and presumably the jurors will shout in twelve-part harmony that, yes, they wish to convict the rapist for the part where he raped somebody. Also the judges on the panel said they feel really bad about the decision that they were “forced” to make, and that they hope that California state law will be amended.
I don’t pretend to be a legal scholar. If any of you awesome feminist lawyers can hit the comments and explain to me why this is not the stupidest thing ever, I would be much obliged.
This Week in Thinky
Mashable talked about the problem with “booth babes.”
The excellent Zerlina Maxwell had two great pieces this week. One, in Ebony, pointed out that it’s time to stop telling women how not to get raped. Another took what I thought was a very even-handed look at the diversity of President Obama’s staff picks.
Lynn Parramore says that we need to stop looking at divorce in terms of stereotypes of female behavior.
This Week in Good
The United States has strengthened laws against female genital mutilation.
MAC is using an image of a female bodybuilder for its new Strength collection. I kind of love the blending of stereotypical masculine and feminine (or butch and femme) traits.
There’s a petition afoot to get 15-year-old activist Malala Yusufzai nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yusufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October for daring to speak out in support of women’s education, and after a long hospital stay is now recovering back with her family.
Washington’s National Cathedral is set to perform same-sex marriages.
This Week in Awesome
For once it’s not a news story of a successful, career-having, voting, equal-pay-desiring woman trying to make herself seem more down-to-earth and approachable by talking about how she’s not a feminist. Zooey Deschanel is feminist and proud. Rock on, New Girl.
Do you want to know how you’re just like bad-ass former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? She says she’ll do almost anything Tina Fey asks her to. Like doing a guest spot on 30 Rock. Can you hear that sound? It’s nerdsquee.
Not familiar with the darkly alluring (and groundbreaking) Theda Bara? The Hairpin has you covered.
And, whoa, there’s a Hillary Clinton biopic in the works. Do her justice or we’re coming after you, filmmakers. Can you think of an actress who could do the young Hillary justice? I’m thinking Jennifer Lawrence. Give me your casting picks in the comments.
Have a great weekend. Get out there and do something biopic-worthy yourself.