Feminist Friday: Tennessee How Crazy We Can Get 


Happy Friday, you fantastic feminists! As always, we will move from the grody to the wonderful. 

Who’s Disrespecting You and Your Ladybits This Week? 

Tennessee is flat-out going nuts. Is there something in the barbecue? In addition to working to bring creationism back into its schools (Somehow it’s always just one religion’s creation story. You’ll never guess which.), the Tennessee legislature has passed a law making the killing of any fertilized egg murder. And it’s a broad enough bill that anything that causes a miscarriage – one representative listed secondhand smoke and minor accidents as examples – could be prosecuted. 

Because if there’s one thing a woman needs after a miscarriage, it’s having it investigated as a crime. Which is, in fact, happening quite a bit nowadays. Somehow these laws have a way of getting turned against the pregnant women they’re supposed to protect. 

And Rachel Maddow alerted us to this insanity this week: 

A South Carolina Senate panel approved a new budget clause on Tuesday removing state aid for abortions for women who are rape or incest victims. The full state Senate will debate the bill next. Number of women in the South Carolina State Senate? Zero. 

The Iowa house approved a similar measure. In both states now, the life of the mother is the only exemption. And since more and more states are deciding that it’s irrelevant if a woman has already been a victim of a traumatic crime, how long can we count on that exemption staying in there? 

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your dumb little local elections. (Or run in them!) The creeps can get a real foothold in the unsexy races that don’t get a lot of play in the news, and boy, can they do a lot of damage from there. 

Oh, did you think Tennessee was going to let some other state run away with the jerkloon title? Not so fast. Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison said that gay kids commit suicide not because of bullying but because they haven’t been instilled with proper values. After being informed by many, many people that he is a horrible dipwad, Faison said that he regretted his choice of words, but still didn’t want any anti-bullying legislation. I would like to point out that there are many, many people in Tennessee who, unlike Representative Faison, are not horrible dipwads. I hope they turn out to vote in November. 

This Week in Not Helping 

The Senate agreed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act after Republicans realized that people are actually watching them and right now and that essentially saying that violence against women is no big schmeal doesn’t really help dispel the whole war-on-women problem they’re having. (Pro tip: Stop waging it!) House Republicans are still being tools, however, and are planning to propose alternate legislation. Once you can stop punching the walls, I’m guessing that alternate legislation should be pretty hilarious. 

The Southern Baptist Convention opposes the Violence Against Women Act because the reauthorized version would bar discrimination against members of the LGBT community who are victims of domestic violence. They would like to keep that discrimination in place so people keep getting hurt, just like Jesus wanted. 

Also not helping? Missouri Senate candidate Sarah Steelman, who, when asked her opinion on the Violence Against Women Act, said she’s not sure what it is. She said she’ll totes study up on things like that once she starts serving. Ugh. Run for office and know what the hey you’re doing, OK? 

If you’d like to study up on the Violence Against Women Act before your Senate term begins, ThinkProgress ran an extremely useful infographic

And in the reeeeeally not helping category, Fox News thingbot Monica Crowley made a heelarious joke about Sandra Fluke’s announced engagement. 

Get it? Well, no, I don’t either. Mostly because it’s not funny and Fox News was busy calling Fluke an overenthusiastic heterosexual just ten minutes ago. But I guess women who have strong opinions must be gay, and as we all know, there is something inherently hilarious about and wrong with that. 

Crowley responded pretty terribly, playing the victim card – because people who object to her homophobia are the real bigots – 

but also saying that she wasn’t homophobic because she was just asking a serious question – 

and that she was only joking. Which, if you have been paying attention, means that at least one of those things is untrue. 

Comedian Rob Delaney summed it up nicely

Thanks for nothing, Ms. Crowley! Your attempt to tear down a woman for the crime of speaking in public, your homophobia, and your subsequent cowardly weaseling make for quite the Not Helping hat trick! Next time at least have the courage of your repellent convictions! 

Interesting Tidbits

Caster Semenya qualified for the 800 meters event for the summer Olympics this week. Semenya’s early running triumphs were marred by a humiliating gender testing controversy and then she had further problems with a back injury. She’s been running well lately and should be in good form for the Games. 

Caster Semenya

Photo by Gallo Images/Getty Images

Cracked had an interesting piece this week on how much “masculine” and “feminine” are artificial cultural constructs – and how often they flip-flop. 

We’ve also had some articles lately that explore another angle of gender gaps in technology – specifically on the all-male board of Facebook and the worrying implications of Wikipedia’s sausage fest

Here. Shake that off with The Mary Sue’s piece on the Invicta Fighting Championships, an all-women mixed martial arts event. 

The Fun Stuff 

Pixar has a new Brave trailer out! That sound you hear is my inner child flipping the hell out with joy. 



PBS’s Gwen Ifill totally jams out in the car on her way to work! 

Don’t worry. She also practices safe tweeting

J.K. Rowling may also be doing some singing after she’s awarded the Freedom of the City of London in May. I’m pretending that means she gets to walk into any building she wants at any time, including private houses. Please don’t tell me any differently. 

Let’s finish off with a double fist of io9. Fantasy writer Jim C. Hines has been giving gender roles a little tweak by posing as the studly guys and windblown women on the covers. Of popular novels. His funny series of women’s poses with some serious thoughts about how we expect women to pose for us is pretty great

And finally, awesome dad Jason Lee has taken a terrific series of magical, adventurous, fun, fun, fun photos of his daughters. I love how active the girls are in them, and how they’re masculine, feminine, and everything in between. 

May your weekend have just as much fun and magic in it. Go get ‘em. 

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