This Week in Ladybits
As always, the good people over at The Rachel Maddow Show are doing amazing reporting on the consequences of the wave of anti-choice laws that have been spreading across the nation. Their two-part examination on what Texas restrictions have done to the Rio Grande Valley alone is devastating. It’s time to stop pretending that cutting off a woman’s reproductive options means that no one gets hurt.
The third bill mandates that parents get to participate in a judge’s decision to grant an abortion to a minor, even in cases where parental abuse is involved. The last bill, arguably the most psychopathically cruel, covers women who are carrying fetuses that have been diagnosed with fatal conditions and can’t survive outside the womb. A woman whose fetus has such a condition would not only have to wait the 48 hours before terminating the pregnancy, she would be required to learn about perinatal hospice—a care program for women who choose to continue pregnancies when they know that their babies won’t survive after birth—and then sign a waiver saying that she chose to terminate the pregnancy instead of going through a hospice program. That’s right: That bill is designed to shame and hurt women who are making painful medical decisions about wanted pregnancies. It’s almost like the real issue is about stopping women from making reproductive decisions rather than actually saving any lives. This resonates with the Hobby Lobby case, in which the conservative Christian craft chain objects to the women on its payroll having access to birth control through the Affordable Care Act.
Katie McDonough in Salon points out that a close read of the briefs filed in support of Hobby Lobby reveal very little in the way of “religious freedom” and a whole lot of trying to control women’s sex lives. At least the Alabama legislators aren’t pretending they think of women as human beings anymore. In a way it’s refreshing. And Planned Parenthood put out a reminder that it isn’t just that elections have consequences; bad behavior can have consequences for your election. And we are watching.
This Week in Good
You may be aware that states across the country have backlogs of unprocessed rape kits, often numbering in the thousands and going back years. They don’t get processed because states don’t have the budget, which means they’re severely hampered in tracking down and prosecuting serial rapists. That’s why Vice President Joe Biden is proposing $35 million in federal grant money to get them processed. For real, call your reps now and let them know that you would very much like this in any version of the budget that comes to a vote.
This may be the first heartwarming story of a sanitary pad visionary you’ve read. It’s well worth your time. Arunachalam Muruganantham started out by worrying about his wife’s reproductive health and ended up offering rural women improved access to sanitary napkins and a way to make their own money. Seriously, it’s a great piece.
And the Internet ain’t all quizzes and cat videos. PolicyMic gave us a list of 23 Feminist Digital Campaigns that made a real difference.
This Week in Thinky
In some interesting and puzzling news, women in academia collaborate about as much with other women who are peers as they do with men. But they’re much less likely to collaborate with women who are lower-ranking than they are. (Note: The study cited in the article stuck to psychology departments, mostly because psychology is a field that’s coming close to gender parity in the U.S. and Canada.)
Hey, Californicators, the ACLU of Southern California is having a Women’s Rights Forum on Tuesday, March 11. And Feministing filled us in on the Kinks, Locks, & Twists Conference for women of color and their allies, happening now through this weekend at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
BuzzFeed gave us Things Women Writers are Sick Of Hearing. …But these writers are pushing past it. All five poet laureates of the U.K., Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland are women this year.
And do you think you’re a REAL nerd? Melissa Harris-Perry wants to test your mettle with a Nerdland Challenge in honor of Women’s History Month.
This Week in Entertainment
Batgirl and Red Sonja writer Gail Simone had some thoughts about how the comics industry is starting to notice that women might sometimes read them, and then followed the thought from there.
…Which ended up with the playful #BoysReadComicsToo hashtag—a fun way for women to blow off steam and Guys Who Get It to play along.
The Fusion Film Festival at NYUl celebrates women behind the camera. You still have a little time to jump on some tickets. Oh, had you heard that there was a biggish awards ceremony this weekend? Jared Leto won for his portrayal of a transwoman, which didn’t sit well with everyone in the trans* community. Much more fun was Cate Blanchett, who celebrated her win with a live F-bomb on CNN backstage. And people were shocked when Kim Novak, star of Vertigo, one of the greatest movies of all time with one of the most hilariously unworkable murder plots of all time, came out onstage at the Oscars and looked like she’d had a lot of cosmetic work done. …Which was what she chose over being lambasted for having the bad taste to get old. This is the best piece I’ve read on Ms. Novak’s no-win situation. While we’re still on the red carpet, ever wonder what would happen if someone asked male nominees the ridiculous fashion questions that the women get?
This Week in Freaking Duh
O hai, science, thanks for catching up. Turns out that the problem with alcohol and sexual assault isn’t that getting drunk turns women into wanton hussies and nice boys into accidental predators. It’s that men who are already sexual predators use the excuse of alcohol to commit assaults, and target women who have been drinking. Oh, and the researchers noted that the usual reaction of bar staff upon witnessing, for example, men grabbing women and then disappearing into the crowd, was to not do a goddamned thing. The good news is that you only have to wade through about 50 more years of “blurred lines” articles scolding women for being out in public and enjoying themselves before society catches up and starts blaming the actual sex offenders.
This Week in Ugh
Shesus. This guy. Congressman Steve King says LGBT folks shouldn’t get any legal protection because it’s all “self-professed behavior.” Which is apparently the new phrase bigoted dingleberries are using to try to sound objective instead of “I love the sinner but hate the sin” or “Queer people make me frightened because they don’t fit into easy categories and I desperately need those easy categories because I have an extremely weak sense of self and it’s easier to refuse service to two women who want a wedding cake then examine the worrisome feelings I had at the swimming pool that one time.” Anyway, he’s still an idiot, and no, Congressman, repeating a phrase over and over doesn’t make it official in this version of reality.
WHOA! Last-minute update!
The Massachusetts legislature did, in fact, jump right on that. Well done, lawmakers.
This Week in Awesome
Thing to file away for days when you’re down on yourself: Lupita Nyong’o did not always know how radiant she is.
The speech she gives about her journey at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood event is as lovely as anything else you’ve seen her do. Which is saying something.
The world of explaining things just got a little easier.
And this video of Lara conducting her church choir in Kyrgyzstan is awesome for so many reasons. I hope she stays this passionate and this ready to lead.