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
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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”
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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
Emer O’Toole wrote a tongue in cheek Q&A about her I-am-not-shaving experiment.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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]
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Photograph: Murdo Macleod
Women, professor Hawking said in an interview with New Scientist, were a “complete mystery” – one that he now devotes much of his time to contemplating. Here are a few of our pointers to help him on his quest…
1. Much like individual fundamental particles, women and men are different, but also the same. Which is to say: women are unique, complicated, intellectual, emotional, sexual. We respire and we digest. Sometimes we are lovely. And sometimes we are horrible. This has less to do with our intrinsic womanliness and more to do with the fact that we are human.