Feminist Friday: You Will Root for a Woman to Stay in the Mall


This Week in People Trying to Control Your Ladybits 

Representative Trent Franks (R – AZ) (Again, that was R – AZ and definitely not the District of Columbia) has introduced a bill to limit abortions in Washington, D.C. and blocked D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) from testifying at the May 17 hearing. Norton held a press conference Tuesday with other city officials to call out the way Franks and other members of Congress use the District to make political points instead of, you know, treating it like an actual major American city that has real problems and deserves real representation. 

As a result, Franks has been the subject of a hilarious protest in which D.C. residents have been showing up at his office to complain about pot holes and rat problems, seeing as how he is taking such a kind and thorough interest in their city. You may recall Franks as the charmer who said that African-Americans were better off under slavery than now, when women have some (slight remaining) control over their reproductive choices. 

Georgia police are concerned that doctors who publicly objected to a new restrictive anti-abortion bill have been the targets of theft and – holy crap – arson. Because nothing shows the way you cherish life like setting fire to a building that definitely has people in it and may have sedated patients in it. A women’s health clinic in New Orleans was also set on fire – this one because it provided HIV testing and AIDS prevention services and education. The arsonist also burned clothing that had been donated for women in need to wear on job interviews

And lest you think there’s any rationality or compassion behind the current anti-choice wave, [trigger warning] ThinkProgress reported on an emergency room doctor in Oklahoma who refused emergency contraception to a rape victim. She had to go to another hospital to get emergency contraception – and, as it turned out, would have had to do so anyway to get a rape kit. State budget cuts mean that a sexual assault victim can’t find a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at every hospital. 

The doctor was allowed to refuse vital services to a rape victim because of a “conscience clause” law. These protect doctors and pharmacists who don’t want to dispense emergency contraception or even basic birth control, because apparently their beliefs that your ladybits should be on lockdown trump any legal rights you might want to exercise. These laws are also getting passed more and more around the country. 

Someecards summed up the situation well. 


This Week in Things to Think About 

Io9 ran a fascinating excerpt from Kate Bornstein’s new book, A Queer and Pleasant Danger in which she discusses working directly with controversial Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. (For more on the fears Bornstein had to overcome in even talking about Scientology, check out her interview in Mother Jones from last month.) 

YouTube launched an official human rights channel. Which, as Talking Points Memo pointed out, opens up a lot of questions. What counts as human rights content? And how graphic can and should content get when you’re trying to document human rights abuses? 

A court in New York has ruled that calling someone gay is not slander. The court has essentially ruled that society has evolved enough that we no longer see The Gay as a bad thing. Feel free to do a little victory dance on that one. 

This might be my favorite thinky story of the week. ToddVanDerWerff of The Onion’s A.V. club wrote a fantastic response to knee-jerk misogynistic commenters on Girls, and Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a great essay for ThinkProgress expanding on that thought and wondering why the show, good or bad,seems to make people so damn angry. Her conclusions really made me take a step back and think about how I react to what I read and watch and how my own writing for female characters plays out. What about you? 

Martha Plimpton got thinky about science instead of culture and storytelling. Still super cool. 

This Week in Bad-Assery 

Gawker ran footage of this Saudi woman not only standing up to members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, but giving them the what-for. The reason they were trying to intimidate her out of a public mall? She had nail polish on and her hair was showing. 


The comments on the incident in the Saudi Gazette are fascinating, ranging from “The woman is correct. These men are perverts. They like to harass, hurt, and brutalize women. It is as plain as day,” to “I belive Hai’a can advise people but i dont think they should ask someone to go out the mall. At the end of the its the individual themselve resposible and answerable to the Allmighty,” to: 

The witness statement was made by a Talal Al Gharmoul who claims to have been there and tweeted: By God, I stood by and witnessed the incident, the woman does not have an atom of modesty. Her face was only covered by a transparent veil over her mouth. She also had a lot of make-up on. In addition to her wearing an abaya accentuating her waist, very similar to a dress. She had her mobile’s earphones in and she was reeling and swaying in front of the men.

I would kind of like to take that woman to lunch, but instead I will reel and sway in solidarity. (By the way, fellow Westerners who wrote things in the comments starting with “You people” or containing “First positive thing I have seen coming from Muslim land!!!” those belong firmly in the Not Helping category.) 

Six-year-old Lori Anne Madison became the youngest competitor to ever qualify for the National Spelling Bee this spring. Even though she was knocked out in the third round due to fatigue and stress 

She definitely has years of competition ahead of her, should she so choose. Tremble in your boots, young orthographers. Even with Lori Anne out of the running, there were plenty of brainy young women to root for. The Jane Dough ran a nice piece on five to keep an eye on. Good wagering – one or two of their picks did really well. 

And the President and First Lady met with the first contingent of female sailors to be assigned to submarine duty. Bad. Ass. 

This Week in Good News and General Awesomeness 

Angelina Jolie has joined Britain’s efforts to help stop sexual violence overseas

The Mary Sue ran a great piece on Jan Mendoza, the first female firefighter to take on California’s wildfires, and my friend Mary (I know: It would be better if her last name was Sue) sent me this sweet piece on two women who met in Zambia and ended up starting their own farm in Minnesota called Bossy Acres

Autostraddle pointed the way toward Mumbai’s Kashish International Queer Film Festival, which took place over the weekend. LGBTQ rights have a long way to go in India, but the Festival keeps nudging the needle ever forward toward acceptance. And as the trailer points out, the Festival had something for everyone. 


Dario Franchitti won the Indy 500 on Saturday, but Katherine Legge made history, becoming the first female Indy 500 racer to drive with an all-female crew. Legge raced as an “ambassador” for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in an effort to get more girls and young women interested and involved in them. Especially if they like peeling out. 

Feministing ran a great roundup of heartening victories for trans rights

And out LGBT candidate Mary González  won a Democratic primary for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Since she has no Republican opponent, she wins the seat and will become Texas’s only out LGBT legislator. Well done, El Paso. 

Have a great weekend, and lay down a little law yourself.

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