guardian.co.uk on tumblr
  1. I danced against sexual assault on the tube to reclaim it for women

    | 22 notes

    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.

    | 16 notes

    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

    | 144 notes
    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

    | 11 notes

    The victory served as a morale boost to women’s rights advocates who had been dismayed by the fate of Li Yan, a Sichuan woman who was convincted of killing her husband after he had subjected her to months of violent abuse. She is facing the death penalty, with her execution likely to happen in the next few days. Last week, more than 100 lawyers and scholars petitioned to commute her death sentence.

    Yan’s unfair treatment made my blood boil. Even though she had repeatedly sought help, turning to the neighbourhood branches of All China Women’s Federation, her complaints were brushed aside as “private family matters” – a common reaction in China. When Yan turned to the police with pictures of her injuries and sustained cigarette burns, she was told this was not sufficient, because the pictures had been taken by family or friends.

    Yan might have over-reacted when trying to defend herself as her husband flew into yet another fit of rage, an airgun in his hand. But she absolutely doesn’t deserve to die. If the Chinese authorities are half as serious about combating domestic violence as they claim to be, how could they so cruelly punish a woman who was let down by a system supposedly in place to protect her?

    Lijia Zhang on how despite Kim Lee’s victory in China’s divorce courts, many women still face appalling treatment at the hands of their husbands
  5. Quote

    | 13 notes
    I believe a unified men’s sector can not only peacefully co-exist with the women’s movement, but actually complement it. Feminists want an end to male violence and criminality? So do I. Feminists want equality in the home and the workplace? So do I. The old refrain “patriarchy hurts men too” is undoubtedly true but it is not a solution. It implies that all we need to do is achieve full social justice for women and male-specific problems will simply wither away. That’s not only a bit daft in theory, it is patently not working in practise. Men’s issues must be considered alongside women’s issues, not least because our lives and welfare are intertwined. Yesterday was International Men’s Day”. Our columnist Ally Fogg looks at a day that has been, in recent years, following a peculiar trajectory, fom “bafflement through indifference, hostility and mockery to a grudging recognition and acceptance”
  6. Photo

    | 1 note
    Saman Shad on the rise of “lingerie football”, in which athletes in lingerie play American football:

And so it comes down to this – what will make men watch. Men, as everyone seems to have decided, are by and large the biggest consumers of sport. Any sport, except women’s – unless, they are good-looking and/or under-dressed. While the men’s soccer league in America can afford to have the likes of David Beckham playing in one of its teams, the women’s soccer league has been cancelled. A protracted legal battle and a lack of interest from sponsors and audiences alike meant the league was struggling. If the women don bikinis or lingerie, perhaps their fortunes may turn around? I for one really hope they never have to resort to that.

Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

    Saman Shad on the rise of “lingerie football”, in which athletes in lingerie play American football:

    And so it comes down to this – what will make men watch. Men, as everyone seems to have decided, are by and large the biggest consumers of sport. Any sport, except women’s – unless, they are good-looking and/or under-dressed. While the men’s soccer league in America can afford to have the likes of David Beckham playing in one of its teams, the women’s soccer league has been cancelled. A protracted legal battle and a lack of interest from sponsors and audiences alike meant the league was struggling. If the women don bikinis or lingerie, perhaps their fortunes may turn around? I for one really hope they never have to resort to that.

    Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

  7. Quote

    | 18 notes
    While all eyes are focused on the presidential race, on the streets of Egypt, inch by inch, bit by bit, women’s rights are shrinking. Women, Muslim and Christian, who do not cover their hair or who wear mid-sleeved clothing are met with insults, spitting and in some cases physical abuse … Women told me that they hated walking in the streets now; they have restricted their mobility to all but the most essential of errands. Whereas a couple of years ago they could just inform their husbands where they were going, now they have to get their husbands or older sons to accompany them if they go out after sunset. The rights of Egytpian women are shrinking, says Mariz Tadros
  8. Ladies: the case for stopping shaving

    | 141 notes

    Emer O’Toole wrote a tongue in cheek Q&A about her I-am-not-shaving experiment.

    Here goes:

    I have conducted an 18-month experiment in body hair on your behalf and will now answer the questions people most commonly proffer when confronted with my prodigious manes of untamed womanhood.

    Don’t men find you physically repulsive?

    At first this was a problem. But then I starved myself to a skeletal size, had lumps of silicon surgically implanted into my chest and permanently tattooed black lines around my eyes.

    Just joking. The man I was going out with when the experiment began was a little apprehensive when I unveiled my innovative grooming plans, but when I actually grew the hair out he was proud of me. One evening, friends of ours asked him a variation of the above question, and he said: “If I was a girl, I wouldn’t shave my legs.” Because he is awesome. Then, in a completely un-hair-related twist, we broke up. So I did what single girls in London do, and had ALL the boyfriends. None of them minded (some of them liked it). And then one of the boyfriends turned out to be completely amazing so I made him the only boyfriend. He is also proud of me.

    Don’t you smell?

    I smell exactly the same as I did before – a bit like soap after showering, and a bit like Christmas cake first thing in the morning.

    Don’t people point and laugh at you in public?

    Yes. Sometimes people do look at you as if it is the 19th century and they have paid a ha’penny to attend a freak-show, saying: “Ha ha ha. Look at the hairy lady – just like Julia Roberts that time shelost the plot.” Note to tube users: if you whisper and giggle behind your hand while staring straight at a fellow passenger, she will probably know that you are talking about her. For a hand is not a massive opaque screen. It is a hand.

    Randomers point and laugh at my legs and armpits in public sometimes. But the problem isn’t my legs or armpits.

    Don’t small children run when they see you, fearing you will lure them to your gingerbread house?

    A scene from my life:

    Small child: Why do you have hair under your arms?

    Me: Because when girls and boys grow up into women and men they grow hair under their arms.

    Small child: My mum doesn’t have hair under her arms.

    Me: She shaves it off.

    Small child: She doesn’t.

    Me: She does. Ask her.

    Small child: Mum, do you?

    Mother of small child: Yes.

    Small child: Why?

    Exactly, small child. Exactly.


  9. Quote

    | 11 notes
    Im not trying to do some chest thumping or bragging here, I could care less what some anonymous British lefty candy asses think of me or the Marine corps. Im telling it like it is. Id like someone who actually served in the Marine Corps to tell me what Im saying isnt the reality, and back it up by what they saw. Either the Corps has completely gone to shit in recent times, or this is still the reality.

    An ex-Marine posts in our thread about female officers in the US Army (he doesn’t think women are quite up to the task).

    We do like the “British lefty candy asses” line.

  10. Photo

    | 7 notes
     Who wants the G-spot to be easy to find?  
A cosmetic gynaecologist in Florida may have located ‘a clearly defined sac’ … (Yes, weird choice of words).

But while we await further scientific conclusions on the matter, we may at least reach a single hard fact: we know remarkably little about female sexuality. Indeed, it is not so very long ago that a woman’s sexual dissatisfaction was regarded as a symptom of a more general “hysteria” and treated “medically” by hydrotherapy and clockwork vibrators. And it is a long-held and still much-touted myth that women possess a lower sexual appetite than men, that, furthermore, women crave sex as a route only to children, or intimacy, or some kind of post-coital cuddle.


Click here to read the rest of the article.

    Who wants the G-spot to be easy to find?  

    A cosmetic gynaecologist in Florida may have located ‘a clearly defined sac’ … (Yes, weird choice of words).

    But while we await further scientific conclusions on the matter, we may at least reach a single hard fact: we know remarkably little about female sexuality. Indeed, it is not so very long ago that a woman’s sexual dissatisfaction was regarded as a symptom of a more general “hysteria” and treated “medically” by hydrotherapy and clockwork vibrators. And it is a long-held and still much-touted myth that women possess a lower sexual appetite than men, that, furthermore, women crave sex as a route only to children, or intimacy, or some kind of post-coital cuddle.

    Click here to read the rest of the article.

  11. Photo

    | 88 notes
    "We need to fight the patriarchy, not men."
- Nesrine Malik, in ‘Do Arab men hate women? It’s not that simple.’ 
She replies to Mona Eltahawy’s controversial article in Foreign Policy magazine about the treatment of Arab women. Read her piece here.

    "We need to fight the patriarchy, not men."

    - Nesrine Malik, in ‘Do Arab men hate women? It’s not that simple.’

    She replies to Mona Eltahawy’s controversial article in Foreign Policy magazine about the treatment of Arab women. Read her piece here.

  12. Quote

    | 47 notes
    There’s no stopping point for this competition; there’s no “you weigh this little” certificate of completion. There is only the never-ending cycle of getting skinnier than your friends until you all completely disappear. By which I mean potentially die Marianne Kirkby, in 'Six weeks to OMG: The diet that will make you disappear.' Read more here.
  13. Photo

    | 3 notes
    In 'Dieting brides v the custom-fitted tyrant of the wedding dress,’ Sarah Ditum discusses the extreme dieting measures many take in the run up to their big day. She says, “a wedding is just one day in a relationship – one day that’s heavy enough with symbolism to make the bride’s weight an irrelevance”.
• Read more here 
Photograph: Lewis Whyld/AP

    In 'Dieting brides v the custom-fitted tyrant of the wedding dress,’ Sarah Ditum discusses the extreme dieting measures many take in the run up to their big day. She says, “a wedding is just one day in a relationship – one day that’s heavy enough with symbolism to make the bride’s weight an irrelevance”.

    • Read more here

    Photograph: Lewis Whyld/AP

  14. Uteruses, how do they work?

    | 155 notes

    It was those great American evangelical poets, the Insane Clown Posse, who asked us once to contemplate the following existential question: “Fucking magnets, how do they work?" But in 2012, after decades of eschewing comprehensive sex education, and lambasting everything from intrauterine devices and birth control pills to emergency contraception, perhaps it’s time to admit that the most existential question of our time for religious conservatives to answer relates to women’s mysterious reproductive tracts.

    So, erm, how do they work?

    Sadly, religious instruction isn’t much help: between telling women that an aspirin between the knees or a phonebook on a man’s lap will prevent pregnancy, it’s perhaps unsurprising that strict adherents to a religion in which a primary article of faith is that a woman was impregnated without the benefit of vaginal penetration or male ejaculate have a few problems fully articulating how modern women can get (or keep from getting) pregnant without a little confusion … or at least elision.

    And so it is that we American women find ourselves being told by legislators in Arizona – those benighted do-gooders behind the anti-Latino "show us your papers" law and the anti-Obama "show us your circumcision" – that, in fact, pregnancy will no longer begin at conception. Instead, we’re told, we’ll soon be legally considered pregnant in the state of Arizona as of the date of our last period, which, as that silly godless “science” tells us, is usually about two weeks before we ovulate. It is true that some medical professionals use a pregnant woman’s last period to estimate a gestational age in the absence of other data – like the actual date of conception which is, when one is not the Virgin Mary, actually not beyond a woman’s capacity to know or recall or a doctor’s capacity to determine. But a legal mandate forcing them to even when other diagnostic tools are more available or appropriate is simply a way to reduce their scientific and professional discretion for the purpose of limiting abortions in ways unimagined by the standards of Roe v Wade and in a manner that is not based on the way women’s supposedly unknowable reproductive tracts work.

    Megan Carpentier takes down the Arizona law pushing for women to be legally considered pregnant as of the date of their last period [read the rest here]

  15. Gallery

    | 3,304 notes

    To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked 11 women from different countries to choose one reason we should celebrate this year.

    • From the US: Jessica Valenti - let’s celebrate the backlash against sexism

    • From Egypt: Adhaf Souef - let’s celebrate the women of Egypt’s revolution

    • From India: Mari Marcel Thekaekara - let’s celebrate Indian women being more visible than ever

    • From Sudan: Lubna Hussein - let’s celebrate the women of Sudan’s Nuba mountains

    • From China: Lijia Zhan - let’s celebrate China leading the world in wealthy self-made women

    • From Afghanistan: Orzala Ashraf Nemat - let’s celebrate Afghanistan’s grassroots activists

    • From Norway: Maria Reinertsen - let’s celebrate more dad time for kids in Norway

    • From Chile: Catalina May - let’s celebrate a belated discission about women’s rights in Chile

    • From the UK: Anna Bird - let’s celebrate a new energy among UK feminist activists

    • From Russia: Natalia Antonova - let’s celebrate women taking on the government

    • From Saudi Arabia: Eman Al Nafjan - let’s celebrate the Saudi women’s driving campaign

    Photographs: Reuters; Phil Moore for the Guardian; Manish Swarup/AP; AP; Janine Wiedel/Alam; AFP/Getty Images; David Wong/AP; AP

About

We like opinions. Quotes, photos, cartoons, video and audio content (plus reblogs) from Comment is free, the Guardian op-eds desk. Curated by @guardianjessica, @bellamackie and @dawnhfoster. Get in touch: cif.editors@guardian.co.uk

People we follow

Stuff we like

Follow Guardian comment on Twitter