This Week in Ladybits
Irish women have to leave the country to get abortions. So they’re taking their case to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham (R, Tennessee Williams Play) is trying to get the United States into the space where Ireland is now (and make sure he seems rabidly conservative enough for his base) by introducing the deeply unscientific “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would be a national 20-week abortion ban, even though people who actually know about medicine and stuff say that a fetus can’t experience pain at 20 weeks.
The bill features exemptions for incest—IF the victim is a minor, and IF the incest was reported to a law enforcement agency—the health of the mother, or rape—IF the rape was reported to a law enforcement agency before the woman seeks an abortion. Do we really need to talk about the number of rapes that go unreported, and the many reasons why a woman might choose not to do so? Or the many reasons why a minor might be unable to report incest?
Here’s the thing: I have a feeling—IT IS JUST A FEELING, YOU GUYS—that Senator Lindsey Graham might have one or two compelling reasons for not wanting the government or the general public to be involved in the private decisions people make about what they do with their bodies. And yet he continues to pull unfeeling, repressive crap like this.
I’m sure Graham thinks he has to introduce legislation like this because he’s afraid that otherwise he’ll get primaried for the right and his political career will end. And there are probably one or two other things—I can’t imagine what—that he thinks he has to do because he’s afraid that if he doesn’t, his political career will end.
But I have one more feeling—instinct, suspicion, call it what you will—about Lindsey Graham, and it is that after his political career does end, he will want to go out in one last blaze of public attention and redemption by, just perhaps, making some sort of personal announcement. Again, I can’t think what.
But what I don’t think Senator Graham understands is that you don’t just get to make that announcement and immediately dive into a new post-announcement community and go body-surfing on waves of public love. You certainly don’t get to do that when you’ve spent huge chunks of your career making fundamental, deeply private aspects of life harder for so many other people.
And when your reason for doing that, Senator Graham, is “I was afraid of losing my political career,” you are not a poor victim of circumstance to be embraced by your new community.
What you are is a coward.
I suspect that there are many topics that Lindsey Graham prefers not to think about. But I hope he does at least a little bit of thinking about that one.
But the good news in the war over women’s reproductive rights is that Democrats are finally finding their reproductive organs. It might be because incandescent righteous anger over the great torrents of anti-choice bullshit has brought on a burst of renewed principle, or it might be because they noticed that ladies vote a whole bunch nowadays; I do not care which. But they have introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, which finally pushes back against the kazillion TRAP laws that have been passed over the last couple of years. It may not (probably won’t) go anywhere, but it’s a firm shove back in the right direction, which is a good start.
And NYMag.com reminded everyone that unwanted pregnancies happen to real people with unique sets of circumstances by sharing the real abortion stories of 26 women.
This Week in Thinky
This clever, creepy short takes a look at prevalent sexist (and gender-conformist) attitudes through Google autofills.
While it’s a tidy way to pretend you can keep oneself safe (and blame the victims), evidence suggests that the link between alcohol and sexual assault isn’t as strong as most people assume.
I’m not sure what to do with Lily Allen’s new video. I like a lot of the lyrics, and the incredibly dark opening in which a male manager urges her to get just a little more lipo is bold and makes a good point. Not a new point, but one we and the industry need to be reminded of. And I love the swat at the ridiculous “Blurred Lines” video, with [joke spoiler!] balloons spelling out “Lily Allen has a baggy pussy.”
…But unfortunately, there’s not enough sustained cleverness to keep a real satire going. There’s a lot of objectification of women’s bodies that’s meant to be over-the-top, but it’s probably something you’ve already seen in another video that isn’t kidding. And I’m uncomfortable with the fact that most of the objectification is of Allen’s dancers… Who are mostly of color. If that dynamic is part of what she’s satirizing—and it’s one that’s ripe for criticism—the video needs to make a real point instead of just showing more of it in slower motion. That swing-and-miss with lampooning the ways videos objectify women makes the overall message problematic. And, Shesus, white pop singers, please think harder about how and why you use twerking.
While I think Allen’s intentions were good—if I hadn’t seen the video first, I’d probably be gleefully losing my mind over the song itself—I think there are other, much better ways the video could have pulled off its satiric punches, and Allen and her production team ended up undercutting her main point. Which is too bad, because I really want to like that song.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
This Week in Not Having It
Melissa Harris-Perry served up a fresh, hot batch of Quit Being a Jerkhat for Lululemon founder (and noted jerkhat) Chip Wilson.
Wilson apologized this week… to his employees, not to the women who he insulted. Or to the customers who bought his suckola overpriced pants.
A Dallas, Texas high school hosted “motivational speaker” Justin Lookadoo , who, among other gems, told the students that girls need to shut up to be “dateable.” To their immense/hilarious credit, not only did numerous students walk out in disgust, they got the hashtag #Lookadouche trending.
Image via Justin Lookadoo’s press kit at Lookadoo.com. No, really.
Let’s end this section with a woman who was not having it back in 1913.
This Week in Awesome
Aw, yiss. Hawaii just got a little more beautiful. Happy gay marrying, Aloha state!
Open up your brain’s fun centers. Maya Rudolph is getting a variety show.
Photo by Jason LaVeris, courtesy of Getty Images.
And Molly Shannon and Kristen Schaal got development deals. Eeeeeee!
Oooh, read this fantastic Grace Hopper comic! Read it, read it, read it!
Image by Zach Weiner via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
And these two Swedish women have developed an invisible bike helmet.
Finally, for a little bad-ass tonic for your soul, this flickr gallery features vintage photos of kickbutt women from the past who didn’t feel the need to conform to traditionally feminine styles.
Image from flickr Commons; gallery curated by pennylrichardsca
Have a great weekend. Get out there and make your own mark.
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