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  1. I danced against sexual assault on the tube to reclaim it for women

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    When she was sexually assaulted on the tube, Ellie Cosgrave felt powerless - so she returned a year later to dance a protest to reclaim the space. 

    Over the year that followed I became increasingly angry, until eventually it was all I could talk about. Every time I was shouted at in the street I wanted to shout back, I just wasn’t sure how to. I decided to tell my story in a blogpost, but it didn’t seem quite enough. I wanted to really take ownership of what happened to me, to express how I felt, and to take back the tube for myself and for all women who had been sexually assaulted on it.

    So on International Women’s Day I went back to the spot where my incident happened. I held a sign explaining what had happened to me, and I danced. I danced my protest, and it felt right. It was petrifying, exhilarating, and soothing all at once, and it was absolutely fitting.”

  2. Is Iceland a feminist utopia? It’s a bit more complicated than that.

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    Last May Icelanders voted to bring back into power the conservative parties that brought Iceland to the brink of bankruptcy in 2008. Apart from any other implications, this appears to have constituted a significant setback for Icelandic women. Currently, of nine cabinet ministers, only three are female. And gender stereotyping is alive and well. When it first took office, the government’s economic affairs and trade committee was made up of nine men and not a single woman. Meanwhile, the welfare committee was made up of eight women and one man. A token woman was subsequently added to the former, and a second man to the latter, but only after a flurry of criticism forced the (male) coalition leaders to make the change.

    - Aida Sigmundsdottir on Comment is free

  3. Quote

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    The message is clear: our government doesn’t care about women’s health. Politicians can say all they want about trying to protect women from the evils of abortion clinics by enforcing these new standards, but most of us aren’t buying it. While the rich will continue to have safe access to abortion as they always have, poor women of color will be the ones who suffer.

    Erika L Sànchez on the new Texas abortion laws http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/17/texas-abortion-bill-affect-latinas

  4. Quote

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    So what else can we use? You can sign off with “thanks”, but that is more often than not just confusing if your email contains no hint of gratitude at all. An email which ends with thanks that isn’t thanking anyone for anything is just kind of weird – it’s the email sign-off equivalent of someone staring at you for slightly too long.

    From there, the options get progressively more problematic. You can sign off with “regards”, which means, quite literally, “I have no regard for you at all”. Or you can use the more extreme “warmest regards”, which means, “never contact me again you insufferable bastard”. Then there’s “yours”, which means, “I don’t even know who you are or what you wrote to me about”, and its cousin, “yours sincerely”, which means, “you owe me money and I will make your life a living hell until I get it”.

    Extract from  on What your email sign-off really means (via guardian)
  5. Photo

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    Now, I know that air travel is really just a portal to foreign climes: a privilege for people who can afford to go on holidays abroad, an efficient means of transport for those whose work enables them to travel, and maybe even, for some, a one-way ticket to a new and better life. I know this, everyone on the plane knows this, so why is the notion that air travel is the sexiest thing since records began still pushed on us by endless tedious advertising campaigns? Wouldn’t Richard Branson do better to put down the women he insists on picking up for photo opportunities and spend his money on food that doesn’t taste like a foot, instead? ‘Sorry, Virgin - sex and air travel don’t mix

    Now, I know that air travel is really just a portal to foreign climes: a privilege for people who can afford to go on holidays abroad, an efficient means of transport for those whose work enables them to travel, and maybe even, for some, a one-way ticket to a new and better life. I know this, everyone on the plane knows this, so why is the notion that air travel is the sexiest thing since records began still pushed on us by endless tedious advertising campaigns? Wouldn’t Richard Branson do better to put down the women he insists on picking up for photo opportunities and spend his money on food that doesn’t taste like a foot, instead? ‘Sorry, Virgin - sex and air travel don’t mix

    (Source: Guardian)

  6. Quote

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    In the real world, not all men want to be “breadwinners”, just like not all men want to be violent, or to have power over women. What men do want, however, is to feel needed, and wanted, and useful, and loved. They aren’t alone in this – it’s one of the most basic human instincts, and for too long we have been telling men and boys that the only way they can be useful is by bringing home money to a doting wife and kids, or possibly by dying in a war. It was an oppressive, constricting message 50 years ago, and it’s doubly oppressive now that society has moved on and even wars are being fought by robots who leave no widows behind. Laurie Penny, ‘We need to talk about masculinity’

    (Source: Guardian)

  7. Photo

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    'Who is Bridezilla? Is she a marketing construct designed to sell dresses? It is possible. I know that women are self-hating enough to spend money to cultivate a stereotype that disparages them, because I have seen Vogue, and I have watched women sign up for pole-dancing lessons with my own amazed eyes. But perhaps women exercise control in wedding planning, because they have little to control elsewhere. (I will not bore the boob-honking lobby with the statistics on female employment, prevalence and seniority.) A wedding day is a tiny empire, it is true, but one in which a woman can exercise complete, if tiny, autonomy and this must be mocked – perhaps this is the egg that hatched Bridezilla?' - Tanya Gold

    'Who is Bridezilla? Is she a marketing construct designed to sell dresses? It is possible. I know that women are self-hating enough to spend money to cultivate a stereotype that disparages them, because I have seen Vogue, and I have watched women sign up for pole-dancing lessons with my own amazed eyes. But perhaps women exercise control in wedding planning, because they have little to control elsewhere. (I will not bore the boob-honking lobby with the statistics on female employment, prevalence and seniority.) A wedding day is a tiny empire, it is true, but one in which a woman can exercise complete, if tiny, autonomy and this must be mocked – perhaps this is the egg that hatched Bridezilla?' - Tanya Gold

    (Source: Guardian)

  8. Quote

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    This week the hashtag “#Killallmen” started trending on Twitter – a rhetorical scream of rage that was quickly, unsurprisingly, criticised in the strongest terms. People are right to be wary of anything that promotes an “us and them” mentality, not just because most men clearly abhor male violence, and an enormous number fall victim to it, but because if there’s an us and them in this debate, it’s between those who support and speak up for victims and those who, tacitly and otherwise, support perpetrators.

    I’d love more men to get involved in this conversation, speaking out against the threat of male aggression we all live under, pushing the message that victims are not to blame, that issues surrounding consent must be taught in schools, that alleged perpetrators must be named – not to name and shame, but to name and protect, as rape campaigner Jill Saward put it this week. I’m sure there are many men who have felt just as appalled by these stories as I have. Let’s hear more from them.

    Kira Cochrane, ‘Men are victims as well as perpetrators of sex crime. So why aren’t they talking?’

    (Source: Guardian)

  9. Quote

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    Horalek is, of course, wrong to call the passages pornographic. Pornography is material intended to arouse sexual excitement, and I very much doubt that was Anne’s intention when she wrote to her imaginary confidant Kitty about her journeys of self-discovery. But the reason Horalek gives for complaining in the first place is that the passages made her daughter uncomfortable. I can well believe this. I can imagine that if, age 13, I had been asked to read or discuss the passages in class, I would have felt deeply uncomfortable (my own nocturnal explorations notwithstanding).

    Anne is going through puberty, and she describes her changed vagina in honest detail, saying, “until I was 11 or 12, I didn’t realise there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris.” (Oh Anne, we’ve all been there.) She continues: “In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris.” It’s beautiful, visceral writing, and it’s describing something that most young women experience.

    And yet I can understand that the junior Ms Horalek would have squirmed and wished herself elsewhere when this was read in class. We live in a society in which young women are taught to be ashamed of the changes that their bodies undergo at puberty – to be secretive about them, and even to pretend that they don’t exist. Breasts, the minute they bud, are strapped into harnesses, and the nipples disguised from view. Period paraphernalia must be discreet, with advertisers routinely boasting that their tampons look enough like sweets to circumvent the social horror of discovery

    Emer O’Toole, Anne Frank’s diary isn’t pornographic, it just reveals an uncomfortable truth’

    (Source: Guardian)

  10. Photo

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    'With the headlines about a five-year-old using a gun marketed as “My First Rifle” barely faded, the NRA invited attendees to “[s]hare the excitement with spectacular displays and fun-filled events for the entire family”. The grade schoolers present shared the organization’s attitude towards the products that have caused the deaths of more American children in two years than the very tragic US military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I like guns because guns are fun,” said 9-year-old Kaykay Mace’ - Top 10 things you missed at the National Rifle Association Convention

    'With the headlines about a five-year-old using a gun marketed as “My First Rifle” barely faded, the NRA invited attendees to “[s]hare the excitement with spectacular displays and fun-filled events for the entire family”. The grade schoolers present shared the organization’s attitude towards the products that have caused the deaths of more American children in two years than the very tragic US military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I like guns because guns are fun,” said 9-year-old Kaykay Mace’ - Top 10 things you missed at the National Rifle Association Convention

    (Source: Guardian)

  11. Quote

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    The issue isn’t whether Danny Brown was sexually assaulted; it’s how the media reframes or dismisses evidence of sexual assault when the victim in question is an adult man. By and large (online trolls aside), the media has thankfully come along way from shaming female sexual assault victims and scolding them for tempting men. But when men are victims, our inability to conceive of them as vulnerable to assault and rape dangerously desensitizes us Emily Shire, ‘Can adult males be victims of sexual assault?’

    (Source: Guardian)

  12. Quote

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    Within the feminist movement, the answer is less clear than one might hope. Trashing each other and exclusion have been hallmarks since the movement began, and each generation of feminist activists seems to suffer the same in-fighting. But contrary to simplistic ideas about catty, back-stabbing women, feminists don’t fight each other because women are uniquely competitive or cruel. Though we care about the movement, it happens because we’ve internalized a narrative of scarcity: we act as though we’re fighting for crumbs. Jill Filipovic, ‘The tragic irony of feminists trashing each other’

    (Source: Guardian)

  13. Quote

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    Delaying Miranda warnings under the “public safety exception” - including under the Obama DOJ’s radically expanded version of it - is one thing. But denying him the right to a lawyer after he repeatedly requests one is another thing entirely: as fundamental a violation of crucial guaranteed rights as can be imagined Glen Greenwald, ‘Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s repeated requests for a lawyer were ignored’

    (Source: Guardian)

  14. Photo

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    'Enter Jay Gatsby, the midwestern boy born into poverty who aspires to see the world, study at Oxford University and ultimately live in a mansion overlooking Long Island Sound in the most fashionable of New York suburbs. In the book, Gatsby's dream is described as dedicating his life to “the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty”. And the muse of that dream is Daisy, an upper-crust young woman he falls in love with who is frivolous and foolish, but has a “a voice full of money”.
Fitzgerald’s story has resonated all these years because alongside the lavish parties and lazy afternoons is a harsh critique of wealth – and of clinging to fictitious versions of the past.’
- Heather Long in ‘The Great Gatsby remake: opulence is back in vogue’

    'Enter Jay Gatsby, the midwestern boy born into poverty who aspires to see the world, study at Oxford University and ultimately live in a mansion overlooking Long Island Sound in the most fashionable of New York suburbs. In the book, Gatsby's dream is described as dedicating his life to “the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty”. And the muse of that dream is Daisy, an upper-crust young woman he falls in love with who is frivolous and foolish, but has a “a voice full of money”.

    Fitzgerald’s story has resonated all these years because alongside the lavish parties and lazy afternoons is a harsh critique of wealth – and of clinging to fictitious versions of the past.’

    - Heather Long in ‘The Great Gatsby remake: opulence is back in vogue’

    (Source: Guardian)

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