Feminist Friday: 20 Weeks, Infinite Douchebaggery


This Week in Ladybits

The Republican-dominated House passed an abortion ban after 20 weeks this week. As a reminder, abortions at or after 20 weeks are incredibly rare. And almost all of them happen when a serious medical issue is discovered with a wanted pregnancy — the mother learns she needs chemotherapy or testing reveals (as it can’t before this stage) that the fetus has grave issues such as an improperly formed spine or an incomplete brain development, issues that mean it can’t survive outside the womb.

Abortions after 20 weeks are deeply private matters between a mother, her doctor, and perhaps other family members, and happen after almost unimaginably painful decision-making process. And Congressman Trent Franks (R – Eighth Circle of Hell) and his pals decided to step in the middle of that and try to force women to carry nonviable fetuses to term and then watch them die. Because, hey, political points are totally worth it, right?

The bill won’t become law because the Senate and White House won’t let that happen — President Obama explicitly promised a veto — but becoming law was never the point. The point is that Trent Franks and Louie Gohmert (R – Eighth Circle of Texas) got their cruel lying faces on the news, and all of these goobers got to spread the OUTRIGHT LIE that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. Which, because it lacks a central nervous system at that point, all reputable medical science says it can’t. But that won’t matter to the millions of people who never read or listen past the headline, so mission accomplished, Congressbros. You’ve managed to demonize thousands of families who are in real pain. Hope those campaign donations are tasty. And I hope those donations can hug too, because, really, your loved ones should leave you for doing something this horrible.

Cosmopolitan helpfully published the names and photos of the Congressional dudes who say they know your medical needs better than you do.

While the lying about fetuses was going on, Congressman Michael Burgess (R – Do I really need to say Texas?) claimed that the abortion ban should be moved even earlier, because he thinks fetuses masturbate at 15 weeks. Yes, really. In a way, he was almost trying to think in a sort of sciency fashion, I guess? And fetuses do indeed masturbate — but not at 15 weeks or even 20. Salon had a thorough breakdown on why he is super wrong.

Our pal Andy Cobb elaborated on the fetal masturbation thing. Do I really need to tell you that this video is NSFW?


Through it all, the Center for Reproductive Rights has your back. And your bits.

This Week in Thinky

Cambridge students were asked why they need feminism. The full set is over here.

Image courtesy of The Life Neurotic with Steve’s Issues

In contrast, Jinan Younis started a feminist group at her all-girls school and faced a dishearteningly vicious backlash. (Hat tip to JD for the link.)

NPR noticed how hard it is to go see a movie about women lately.

Speaking of that, Laura Linney gave an amazing acceptance speech when she received her Crystal Award for Excellence in Film. Way to be gracious while still calling out the problems of gender inequality in the film industry.

That said, is Man of Steel the feminist movie of the year?

And Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls reminded us of the Smart Girl pledge.

Image via Twitter

This Week in Good

Flagship pray-away-the-gay group Exodus International has apologized and is shutting down.

Glamour ran a story on seven women who are standing up to rapists and rape culture.

Comedian Patton Oswalt re-thought his earlier defense of comedians who do creepy hack rape jokes in which the butt of the joke is the victim. His fair, funny, considered approach is one of the best reads you’ll have this week.

The women’s bathroom in the Senate is being enlarged. On account of more ladies in there. Also in the Senate, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski has become the third Republican Senator to endorse same-sex marriage.

And the Dalia Lama said that his next successor could be a woman.

This Week in Ugh

The Daily Beast and Jezebel reported on “Christian Domestic Discipline.” Otherwise known as men spanking their wives. You know, for good traditional marriages and Jesus and stuff. Not that there’s any overlap with spousal abuse or anything. I might suggest that there’s an overlap with BDSM (as those articles do), and that isn’t ordinarily something with which I’d have a problem. But whatever sexual fun is being had doesn’t include the safeguards or co-creation that people involved in BDSM have — it’s not like the wives involved are helping to dream up the scenarios or have safe words or the power to stop a punishment if it becomes too much. They’re just supposed to accept spankings and infantilization at the husband’s whim. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not healthy.

For some reason, The Atlantic loves to run articles about how women can’t be successful and also moms. This time it’s aimed at female writers. Our own Lucy Hallowell alerted me to a collection of excellent retorts.

Same-sex couples face significant rental housing discrimination.

And of COURSE people reasonably saying that soldiers shouldn’t be raped by their own colleagues produced a dickbag backlash. Noted racist John Derbyshire said that the whole silly kerfuffle is all on account of how women can’t resist high-status men and are chronic liars. Ugh, you want to take this one, Wonkette? James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal claims that asking that men not rape their fellow soldiers is an “attempt to criminalize male sexuality.” Because male sexuality is inherently about rape? Feh. I threw a lot of shot glasses at the wall this week.

In an astonishing development in the ongoing military sex assault scandal, Senator Carl Levin (D – Michigan) took out the provision in the Military Justice Improvement Act that would have moved the reporting of sexual assaults out of the direct chain of command. Zerlina Maxwell gave the Senator a dose of perspective.

And Congressman Phil Gingrey (R – Georgia, Black and White, 1953) wants schools to teach kids the rigid gender roles of old sitcoms.

This Week on the Street

Feministing pointed the way towards some anti-street harassment street art. That artist is Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

Image courtesy of Ms. Fazlalizadeh’s website

The Everyday Sexism Project has also been working against street (and other) harassment, using the power of social media to make people aware of how prevalent the problem really is and to amplify the voices of the women who speak out.

This Week in Awesome

The Stranger dropped in on The Comedy Womb, Seattle’s woman-friendly comedy open mic. (Thanks to my buddy Daniel for the tip!)

The Feminist Taylor Swift Twitter account was immediately delightful.

The Guardian had a lovely profile of Gillian Anderson and her does-what-the-hell-she-wants career.

NASA’s incoming class of astronauts is 50% female.

And the Navy will be training female Navy Seals by 2016. Women will also be able to apply to join the Marine Infantry and the Army Rangers.

Holy Shesus, do I love Aisha Tyler. This is her being smart and hilarious enough to keep the Daytime Emmys spoiler-free without missing a beat when she realizes she’s been handed the wrong envelope. The lady is one hell of a pro. (H/T to HLN for their clipping and YouTubing.)


Have a great weekend. Get out there and save the day yourself.

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