In this week’s news roundup we explore recent political and electoral achievements of women, alongside new research, criticisms of the women’s rights movement, analysis of global gender disparities, and threats both looming and emerging to women’s equality and justice.
“What are you supposed to do when you’ve finally mustered the courage to speak up, but he won’t listen to you?”
Is extending an invitation to your home the equivalent of providing your consent? The easiest way to answer this question is a sharp ‘no.’ Perhaps even a ‘hell no!’ Katlyn Roche knew the answer to this question both intimately and intellectually, but after being assaulted, was unable to shake the feeling that she was in some way partly responsible for her assault.
Victim-blaming is an all-encompassing problem.
Katlyn Roche, Everyday Feminism
“It was the umpteenth proof point of a very simple fact that anyone who knows Congress has been aware of for quite a while now: Nancy Pelosi can’t be beaten.”
After a heated competition with Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic congressman from Ohio, Nancy Pelosi has held onto her role as House Minority Leader. Democrats have been scrambling since the November election to revamp their image as the out-of-touch party of the rich and affluent answerable only to big money interests.
One of the ways this rebranding has been taking form has been the ousting or the attempt to oust older and more conservative Democrats, who are now viewed by voters as fixtures of the establishment. Pelosi—76, centrist, and serving since 1987—makes for one heck of a target.
Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post
“Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity. They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.”
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has written a letter urging his country to extend to Saudi women the rights and ability to transport themselves to and from. Currently, women in Saudi Arabia are restricted from driving largely due to the fear that women behind the wheel would serve as a Trojan horse for social and moral decay or what others would term development.
While his arguments for this represent what Berkeley professor Wendy Brown refers to as the financialization of human rights and can at times sound politically conservative to Americans, women in any society gaining liberties and autonomy should be celebrated, right?
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia
“The procedure is only available in Northern Ireland’s hospitals when the pregnancy poses a direct threat to the mother’s life. It is illegal in all other cases.”
The NHS, which is the universal healthcare system in Britain, covers all costs associated with abortions for women in England, Wales, and Scotland but does not do so for Northern Irish women due to North Irish law.
However, through an effort being led by Nicola Sturgeon First Minister of Scotland and a woman herself, Northern Irish women may soon have this policy undermined considerably vis-à-vis the ability to access free abortions in Scotland under new proposals.
Henry McDonald, The Guardian
“While people who haven’t read Simone de Beauvoir or bell hooks are trying to grapple with the question of whether feminism excludes men, domestic violence is going on unhampered, thousands of objectifying ads are lining the streets and infecting the television, and male politicians are flooding parliament.”
Author and Feminist writer Elisabeth Murray writes an incisive vindication for a refocusing on a feminism rooted in radical struggle. She exposes the way liberal and rights-based feminisms cooperate with corporate power to sterilize radical calls for dismantling hegemony, white supremacy, and patriarchy.
Researchers representing Pervasive Technologies Institute, Indiana University Network Science Institute, School of Informatics and Computing, and Indiana University.
While this may not come as news for women gamers or those familiar with the community, researchers representing four different institutions have recently published a study of online gaming communities documenting the prevalence of objectification and binary-gender enforcement in popular online gaming platform Twitch.
“In the Iroquois Confederacy (including the Onandaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, and later Tuscarora Nations), women participated in all major decision-making. Women had the power to veto any act of war. And women selected the chiefs.”
While numerous post-election analyses have focused on trends in women’s voting, journalist Jessica Nordell explores its origins.
Many are familiar with names such as Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, or South Carolina’s Grimke sisters, but a lesser number of people are aware how Iroquois women in particular have influenced the suffrage movement within the United States.
Jessica Nordell, The Washington Post
In intersectional news, Tea Party member and Texas State Senator Konni Burton has filed a law that will require teachers and school administrators to ‘out’ LGBTQ students to their parents.
Using the camouflage rhetoric of restoring to parents the “basic right to matter in their child’s life,” Konni Burton is waging a full-frontal assault on LGBTQ youth, the most vulnerable within the already marginalized community.
Natalie Whalen, Out
“A SlutWalk is a vocalizing tool for people who are entirely too fed up with the policing of women’s sexuality, especially when men are applauded for their sexual conquests while women are shamed and called sluts like it’s a bad thing. SlutWalks also help reclaim the word slut, and I think it’s beautiful.”
Auntie Bellum’s very own Meeghan Kane interviewed Corazon Stegelin this past week, organizer of South Carolina’s very first SlutWalk.
The movement is a cultural protest against slut shaming and rape culture which has been performed in many major cities across the country.
In the interview Stegelin talks about the rally, activism more broadly, and cultural images of Southern women. Coverage on College of Charleston’s SlutWalk can be found here on The Post and Courier.
Meeghan Kane, Auntie Bellum
As 2016’s Nobel Laureates met with President Obama this week for a private conversation in the Oval Office, it is important to recall that not a single woman was awarded this year.
In this article, JR Thorpe highlights some of the gender disparities associated with the Nobel Peace Prize while also considering what these disparities say about women in the broader global community.
J R Thorpe, Bustle
Nathaniel Simmons-Thorne is a philosophy student at University of South Carolina and an activist with Black Lives Matter and the SC Progressive Network fighting for social justice and LGBTQ+ rights.