Women's News from the Web

Ivanka Trump’s a feminist? Yep – just like her father and her brothers | Catherine Bennett

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 21:00

America’s first family are outraged by an art work that presumes to shows her vacuuming

In a singular achievement for US conceptual art, an installation by Jennifer Rubell has prompted three – to date – of Donald Trump’s children to disclose their horror of sexism.

The piece in question, Ivanka Vacuuming, recently opened in Washington DC. A video shows a woman in the Trump-preferred genre – young, high-heeled, blond – impassively pushing a vacuum cleaner around a pink carpet, on to which visitors are invited to throw crumbs, from a generous pile on a pedestal. “Inspired by a figure whose public persona incorporates an almost comically wide range of feminine identities – daughter, wife, mother, sister, model, working woman, blond– Ivanka Vacuuming is,” say the organisers, CulturalDC, “simultaneously a visual celebration of a contemporary icon; a portrait of our own relationship to that figure; and a questioning of our complicity in her role playing.”

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Brett Kavanaugh shows true colours in supreme court abortion dissent | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 04:00

The supreme court blocked a Louisiana Trap law but Trump’s controversial pick showed Roe v Wade is not safe in his hands

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

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Bloody brilliant: new emoji to symbolize menstruation welcomed

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 01:00

The red blood droplet with a period-positive message is hailed as a step forward but some see it as a half-measure

The newest emoji made crimson waves across the internet upon its unveiling this week – and that was exactly the point.

Plan International UK’s fight for the cartoon red blood droplet – an emoji meant to symbolize menstruation – was almost poetically symbolic to the message it was trying to convey with it: that periods aren’t shameful.

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Me and my vulva: 100 women reveal all

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 00:00

First it was breasts, then penises – now photographer Laura Dodsworth has taken portraits of 100 vulvas. She tells Liv Little why. Below: eight women’s stories

  • Warning: adult content

Towards the end of last year, I published an essay about my vulva – in a book, and then in the Guardian. At 25, I’d spent years considering labiaplasty and having sex with the lights off, because of things ignorant boys had said, as well as some of my friends. I felt a deep sense of shame about my body, which over time became crippling.

It’s this shame that photographer Laura Dodsworth is aiming to overcome with her latest project, Womanhood. In a book and accompanying film for Channel 4, she tells the stories of 100 women and gender non-conforming people through portraits of their vulvas. It’s the third instalment in a series: in Bare Reality and Manhood, Dodsworth photographed and talked to people about their breasts and their penises, respectively (both stories featured in Weekend magazine). The photographer has described the series as an “unexpected triptych”; she didn’t know the project would take this direction at the start (and, when it was first suggested to her, she didn’t want it to). But the more she thought about photographing women’s vulvas, the more necessary she felt it was.

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'Free the nipple' female campaigners lose challenge to US topless conviction

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 17:36

New Hampshire court upholds conviction of three women arrested in 2016 after removing their tops at a beach

New Hampshire’s highest court has upheld the conviction of three women who were arrested for going topless on a beach, finding their constitutional rights were not violated.

In a 3-2 ruling, the court decided that an indecent exposure law in the New Hampshire city of Laconia does not discriminate on the basis of gender or violate the women’s right to free speech.

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Kosovans call for justice after alleged rape of teenage girl

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 11:44

PM demands action after victim allegedly assaulted by police she reported crime to

The Kosovan prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has summoned senior law enforcement and justice officials over the alleged rape of a teenager – first by a teacher and then police she reported it to – in a case that has shocked the nation.

Haradinaj pressed the officials for measures to ensure something like this can never happen again, his office said in a statement on Friday.

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The Guardian view on Dan Mallory: a twisted tale of publishing | Editorial

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 08:25
The story of Dan Mallory, aka the bestselling author AJ Finn, reads like a thriller. But it asks uncomfortable questions of the literary world

A true story worthy of a Patricia Highsmith thriller was published this week in the New Yorker. The magazine detailed the deceptions of Dan Mallory, who is the author, under the pseudonym AJ Finn, of the bestselling psychological thriller The Woman in the Window. But his launch into authordom came after a career in publishing in London and New York, during which, the investigation found, Mallory had deceived colleagues, telling them a range of stories including that his mother had died of cancer (she is alive); his brother had killed himself (he is alive); and that he himself had suffered from brain cancer. Mallory has admitted to some of this, saying that he used the excuse of brain cancer to cover up his shame at his real suffering from mental illness.

His account would not explain instances where he inflated his professional experience to smooth his rapid advance up the ranks of publishing. When the immediate thrill of reading the New Yorker’s exposé had passed, many working in the industry reflected on what the story reveals about their profession. While publishing as a whole is dominated by women, specifically white women, its most powerful positions are still mostly occupied by white men. Hachette UK, the parent company of Little, Brown where Mallory worked, last year announced that it had a median gender pay gap of 24.71%, and a mean gender pay gap of 29.69%. Women working in publishing say that all too often they see bright, likely looking young men fast-tracked for promotion, while they toil unrecognised. That Mallory was helped to rise with such speed, on the back of unchecked claims about his experience and competence, is not only depressing for those working honestly in the industry, but also deeply infuriating.

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Tory MP who blocked upskirting bill halts FGM protection law

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 06:16

Christopher Chope’s decision to object described as ‘appalling’ by Zac Goldsmith

The Conservative MP Christopher Chope, who gained notoriety after he blocked a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence, has used the same parliamentary tactic to halt a planned law making it easier to protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Tory backbencher shouted “object!” when the bill was presented to the Commons for its second reading.

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Recognition at last: how the Baftas are rewarding diversity

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 04:16

Bafta has introduced new awards eligibility rules and changes to its membership. What impact have they had on this year’s nominations?

This year’s Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) film awards will be the first to take place since the organisation introduced a new set of eligibility rules, designed to increase diversity in the films it honours.

In 2016, Bafta announced that, in order to qualify in two of its award categories – outstanding British film, and outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer – films must conform to the BFI’s Diversity Standards. These were established in 2014 to increase the participation and representation of minorities and socially disadvantaged people in British film, and involve a “three tick” system covering content and personnel, intended to ensure that only qualifying films can access lottery funding.

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Dystopian fiction tells a pretty everyday story for many women

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 02:00

Genital mutilation, ‘disaster rape’, invasive control of female bodies ... post-apocalyptic plots may feel far away to some, but they are all too real for many women

A couple of months ago, Twitter user @emrazz asked women what they would do in a hypothetical 24 hours if there were no men around. The responses were depressingly banal: sleeping with the windows open or finishing drinks in our own time, instead of feeling pressured to down them before heading to the bathroom, lest a man slip something in the glass. Going for walks at night was a common answer, bringing to mind Will Self’s piece ruminating on the joys of midnight walks, an “underrated pleasure” few women would seriously consider. These answers illustrate that, given a day without men, women would simply conduct themselves as full participants in the world, free from fear.

The Office for National Statistics said that one in five women in England and Wales will experience sexual assault in their lifetime; the UN’s worldwide estimates say it is more than one in four, with much higher figures for women of colour and refugees. Does this endemic violence – a glaring symptom of how a patriarchal society is both formally and informally enforced – not fulfil the most basic definitions of a dystopia? People of all marginalised groups are uniquely situated to imagine a dystopian society, because we already inhabit one: a brutal parallel universe, of which only the privileged can remain unaware.

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How could a cheerleader for Ukip ever become CEO of Women’s Aid? | Amrit Wilson

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:23

The fact that Katie Ghose led the charity at all shows that the corporatisation of the women’s sector has gone too far

In early January, I was due to speak at the opening of an exhibition about the domestic violence refuges of the 1970s and 1980s. Out of curiosity, I Googled the woman who was to speak alongside me: Katie Ghose, at the time the CEO of Women’s Aid. What I discovered astounded me.

Related: Women's Aid chief Katie Ghose steps down after publicly praising Ukip

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There’s no shame in reading whatever books you want – literary snobs be damned | Emily Maguire

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:00

After discovering most novels of ‘literary value’ are written by dead white men, Emily Maguire asks, who gets to decide? And what’s the criteria?

I dropped out of high school early, so when I eventually got to university I was a “mature-age student”. What a ridiculous label. I was 24, and I didn’t feel mature – I felt ancient.

After almost a decade working minimum wage jobs with shitty pay and shittier treatment, I felt exhausted beyond words. And as someone who hadn’t picked up a textbook or written an essay for that same amount of time, I felt generations older than my classmates. Out of touch doesn’t begin to cover it.

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British Airways told 'do better' as maternity pay policy emerges

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 06:20

Airline’s offer of six weeks’ pay raises questions over aim to attract female pilots

British Airways’ stated commitment to recruiting more female pilots has been called into question after it emerged that the flag carrier offers only a “scandalous” six weeks’ maternity pay to its staff.

Although BA has launched a recruitment drive to get more women in the cockpit for its centenary year, and employs about 300 female pilots, any who become pregnant face a 90% pay cut. This leads some to choose between financial hardship or terminations, according to unions.

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Women's Aid chief Katie Ghose steps down after publicly praising Ukip

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:57

News of her comments sparked outrage from black and ethnic minority groups and others

The chief executive of Women’s Aid, Katie Ghose, is stepping down from the domestic abuse charity after complaints from black and minority ethnic women’s refuges about her public praise for Ukip.

London Black Women’s Project wrote to Women’s Aid this month calling on the charity to remove Ghose from her post after video footage was circulated on Twitter showing her praising Ukip’s “passion for a new way of doing politics”, referring to Douglas Carswell as “an outstanding MP” and lauding Nigel Farage.

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Outrage over use of 'Miss Curvy' beauty pageant to promote Ugandan tourism

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 03:50

Campaign involving ‘naturally endowed, nice-looking women’ sparks backlash from ministers and activists

A plan to promote Uganda’s tourist industry with a “Miss Curvy” beauty contest has caused a government row in the east African nation.

The proposal to add “curvy and sexy women” to official literature listing Uganda’s attractions, devised by the country’s tourism minister, has drawn an angry rebuke from the minister of ethics and integrity and condemnation from women’s right activists.

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Why are so many women writing about rough sex? | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 20:00

After #Metoo, it’s no surprise a new generation of female authors is exploring sexual abuse and dominance

Recently I have found myself wondering about the prevalence of rough sex in new fiction written by women. It’s viscerally present in You Know You Want This, the new short-story collection by Kristen Roupenian (who shot to fame last year with Cat Person, published in the New Yorker): I found some of the scenes so unpalatable that I had to keep putting it down. They (spoiler alert) include a woman strangled to death as part of a sex game; a man who imagines his penis is a knife when he has sex; and a woman who says to the guy she is sleeping with: “I want you to punch me in the face as hard as you can. After you’ve punched me, when I’ve fallen down, I want you to kick me in the stomach. And then we can have sex.”

Related: Cat Person going viral shows how rare it is to explore women’s sex lives | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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Disability campaigners give to new emojis for 2019

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 08:55

Guide dogs, prosthetics and accessibility emojis welcomed by rights groups

From falafels to mischievous sloths, dozens of new emojis will bring greater diversity to messaging applications this year, as the organisation behind the symbols responds to a number of campaigns.

The introduction of image-based characters such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and guide dogs will help redress the underrepresentation of disabled people on the emoji keyboard, while there will also be a wider range of mixed-gender and ethnicity couples for users to choose from.

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A ‘duty of care’ for sexists – no wonder Warwick students are furious | Eloise Millard

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 06:48
The university says it must consider perpetrators’ needs. But what about the victims of sexism, racism and rape culture?

The University of Warwick is renowned for academic excellence, but for many who have studied there, it has a reputation for very different reasons. Today the student union is supporting a protest on campus against “sexism, racism and rape culture” at the university.

It was reported last week that two male undergraduates who were among a group who had used reprehensible racist, antisemitic and ableist language while joking about raping their female peers were being allowed to return after a year’s suspension, despite the university’s original decision to ban them from campus for a decade.

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Germany's cabinet approves revision to Nazi-era abortion law

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 03:38

Doctors are currently banned from advertising services and offering information online

Germany’s cabinet has approved a revision to the country’s controversial, Nazi-era abortion law, a move that – pending parliamentary approval – would allow doctors and medical associations to provide women with more information about where and how to seek abortions.

Under the current law – paragraph 219a of Germany’s criminal code – doctors are prohibited from advertising abortion services or providing information about abortions on their websites. German law allows abortions during the first trimester, but uses various measures, such as the advertising ban, which came into force in 1933, to in effect discourage women from obtaining them.

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Liam Neeson laid bare the logic of lynching, in all its horror | Moira Donegan

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 03:12

The actor’s admission echoes 19th-century mob murders of black people – committed under the pretence of protecting white women

In an interview with the UK’s Independent newspaper, the action star Liam Neeson, who was on a press junket to promote his new action movie, Cold Pursuit, admitted to wanting racist revenge. Decades ago, he said, a friend of his had confided that she had been raped. Neeson asked if she knew the man who had raped her, and when she said no, he asked the man’s race. She told him that the attacker had been black. Neeson said that after this, he was intent on murdering a black man. He said he walked the streets carrying “a cosh” – British slang for a bludgeon – going into black neighborhoods and hoping to find himself in a fight, so that he would have an excuse to beat a black man to death. All of this came from a feeling of defensiveness toward his friend, he said. Thus, he would murder a black man on her behalf.

The comment sparked controversy and anger; black people rightly pointed out that this attitude seeks to impose collective punishment, putting their communities in grave and pointless danger. Many were angry at Neeson for not condemning his own past racism, instead saying that the episode had taught him a lesson about the danger and futility of revenge. In response, Neeson went on Good Morning America. “I am not a racist,” he said, and added, unhelpfully, that he had overcome his urges by “power walking”. While he was there, he also promoted his new movie.

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