Feminist Friday: The Texas GOP Keeps Pushing It


This Week in Ladybits

So if you recall, last week the Texas legislature went cray, and, on top of the cruel nutball legislation, suddenly women trying to enter the Texas Capitol were getting searched for menstrual products. I have a newsflash, men of the Texas GOP and PD: sometimes women carry those for a very practical reason.

I mean, yes, we also carry them for spontaneous craft projects or to collect and trade with each other or just for the sheer intermediate school thrill of rifling through your bag in front of a male coworker and pulling them out along with your quarterly report. (In case you’re wondering, the proper response to that potentially awkward social situation is to shout “It’s a girl!” and pop a tampon into his shirt pocket like a cigar.)

But mostly — mostly — women carry menstrual products because we sometimes need to use them. So confiscating them is kind of a dick move. Especially when you’ve decreed that bringing your concealed weapon in is totally cool.

Thank goodness for Texas women with wicked senses of humor.



The Powers That Be in Texas justified the action by claiming that they had been tipped off that protesting women were planning on using the menstrual products for inappropriate demonstrations, which I guess means throwing them or, I don’t know, menstruating really hard or something.

And by way of backing up that statement, the Texas authorities claimed to have also confiscated jars of urine and feces. I agree that bringing those jars in would have been a terrible thing to do. And also a ridiculous thing to do. I was skeptical of those reports initially because the numbers of the jars kept changing in the stories going around, and because hurling a jar of waste, human or otherwise, is not only wrong and oddly out of character for these particular protesters: It’s also more of an outdoor thing. If you’re not sure how quickly you and your hundreds of fellow protesters are going to be able to get out into the fresh air, you’re probably not throwing that jar.

Chris Hayes thought of better reasons to be skeptical than I did, and talked with Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America about what’s happening in Texas.



Did you catch that number? For those of you who can’t watch clips at work, Hogue said that 7% of Texas women are already trying to abort on their own. Women are already taking suspect pills or deliberately hurting themselves or going to illegal clinics because they  can’t get to a legal one.

And that’s about to get worse: After Governor Perry signed the clinic closing bill into law on Thursday, the Texas GOP introduced another radical anti-abortion bill. This one is a so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill. It would ban abortion at six weeks — before most women even realize they’re pregnant. Looks like the Texas PD will have to also start confiscating the dozens of pregnancy tests women will have to start carrying around. They’re going to have to start peeing on sticks at least once a day just to be safe.

Oh, and by the way, those six-week abortion bills are a sneaky way of forcing a transvaginal ultrasound on women. Legislators can claim they’re not specifying the kind of ultrasound, but when it’s that early in the pregnancy, you pretty much have to use an internal one. Ugh all around. Rachel Maddow had more.



This Week in Thinky

American-style purity pledges are increasing in popularity in other parts of the world. The Age looked at the problems that purity pledges create.

Aga Radwanska is catching religious heat for appearing in ESPN’s body issue.

Splitsider wrote about the marginalization of Janeane Garofolo.

And Feministing reminded us of why the Voting Rights Act matters.

This Week in Bad

This very upsetting video of a group of Western men harassing a South Korean woman in a nightclub has been burning up the Internet this week. Apparently this particular case is extreme, but young drunken Western men harassing women in Seoul is nothing unusual. The video has apparently struck several culture clash and gender role issues in the Korean community, and the response has now turned to (surprise!) victim-blaming. The full Washington Post article linked above is sad and fascinating. Warning: I’m not kidding about how unsettling this video is.


On a more baffling front, my friend Mary sent me this Fox News piece on how men are second-class citizens now. You know, like how racism is over. The author manages to misunderstand Title IX and also lets us know that only girls like the subjects that grade schools teach. What?

Ugh, and the New York Times ran a concern-troll story on young women having (Gasp!) casual sex of their own volition in ways that they find satisfying. Has anyone ever seen a hand-wringing article like this about men? The whole point of these articles, always, is to make women worry that they’re getting life wrong and go back to the 1950’s; earlier if possible. I remember first becoming aware of these when I was in high school. At the time they were less about sex and more about how if you darn women keep getting advanced degrees and having satisfying jobs, you have less chance of getting married than you do of being bonked on the head by a coconut thrown by a panda holding a first-issue Superman comic, and you will be getting life wrong.

All of these articles are the same, and they are all designed to scare women into being be good little girls who are available to men as men see fit. Screw that. And, more to the point, young women in the New York Times, screw whomever you want. Just be safe and take care of the hearts of everyone involved, including yours. You’re doing life just fine.

And on that note, our old pal Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, wants to ban sex that isn’t hetero-peen-in-vadge. You know, for the children. Let’s give a round of applause to the good people at Cooch Watch for keeping this creep in the news. A lot of the jerkier laws are happening at the state and local level level, and it’s dedicated groups like this who keep the creeps in the news and on the national radar that make the jerkness at least a little harder to get away with.

This Week in Awesome

The Daily Mail ignored Amanda Palmer’s music at the Glastonbury Festival and instead reported solely on a wardrobe malfunction. So Palmer performed a very special response in London and asked fans to record it. Do I need to say it’s NSFW? It’s NSFW.

Amanda Palmer at the Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival 2013 - Day 2Getty Images

BuzzFeed ran a lovely photoset by Christer Strömholm of transgender women in 1950’s Paris.

FF transParisImage from Galerie VU via BuzzFeed. Photo by Christer Strömholm

Out comedian Lauren Flans and her straight castmate (and L Word Alumna) Rasika Mathur talked about their mutual admiration and their on-screen kiss that aired on Wild’n Out this week.

The Emmy nominations revealed a glimmer of hope for female television directors.

…but Caissie St. Onge had a word of caution for us all.



Is there anything more fun than watching Elizabeth Warren bring the hurt to jerks who are being deliberately ignorant? Enjoy.

And Tamar Altebarmakian wrote in The Mary Sue about why shows like Xena: Warrior Princess that feature big bad female villains are so important.

Have a great weekend. Get out there and tear things up.

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