Women's News from the Web

Billie Eilish embodies the angsty spider-eating teenage girl in all of us | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 07:00

The 17-year-old was astonishing at Glastonbury and reminds me of Kate Bush – but she should not have to disappear like her to express her artistic freedom

I had an inkling Stormzy might be quite good at Glastonbury this year. Down with the kids, innit? But much of the festival on telly was a bit dull. Please don’t tell me you had to have been there. I have been there, which is why I will never go back. Nonetheless, loads of people have a brilliant time, and good luck to them. And every year someone astonishes me.

This year it was Billie Eilish, who seems to have been alive for less time than the set the Cure played to end the festival.

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You can expel your MP for fiddling expenses – but not violence or misogyny. Why? | Mandu Reid

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 02:06
As long as they avoid a custodial sentence, men who assault or harass cannot face recall from Commons. This is a scandal

• Mandu Reid is leader of the Women’s Equality party

I have never grabbed someone by the neck. Nor have I ever groped anyone, or looked at porn at work. I’ve never sent a colleague an inappropriate text message or asked someone I manage to buy sex toys for my partner. I have never been accused of rape. You would think that I wouldn’t need to clarify those things but, as a politician, I increasingly feel the need to. After all, there are more than a dozen men sitting in our House of Commons who have been accused of doing at least one of the above.

When Mark Field was caught on camera last week shoving a peaceful Greenpeace activist, Janet Barker, seizing her by the neck and roughly escorting her from a black-tie dinner there was public outcry. As a result he has been temporarily suspended from his ministerial position and police are investigating third-party reports of assault against him. I believe he should face recall by his constituents. But under current legislation that is impossible.

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Trying to keep up with the Kardashians is returning women to the Victorian era | Marie Le Conte

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 06/30/2019 - 05:07
Bound in corsets and painstakingly painted, today’s socialites promote an ideal of beauty that belongs to another time

Kim Kardashian West is perched on a chair. She’s not quite sitting; instead, she’s pushing her hands into the armrests then leaning against the cushion. Her figure is grotesque: above her generous hips rests an already small waist, tightened beyond belief thanks to a flesh-coloured corset. She addresses the camera. “Anna, if I don’t sit down for dinner, now you know why. I’ll be walking around mingling, talking, but I can hardly sit …” – she tries to sit, she can’t – “I can only half-sit.”

The Anna in question is Vogue’s Wintour and the dinner is the Met Gala’s, which took place in May. The video the quote is from was posted on 7 May, and has been watched more than 21m times since then. Perhaps she was right not to sit; a few weeks later, actor Elle Fanning attended a dinner at Cannes where she fainted and fell off her chair. Her dress, a vintage Prada gown with a corseted waist, was too tight.

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Asking for Botox has been normalised, so what happens now?

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 21:59

Younger and younger women are being targeted with suggestions that the beauty treatment will empower them

There is a block of student flats near our offices that is the wrongest building in the world. To glance at it briefly, perhaps through tears on a bus, you might see it kindly as a 19th-century warehouse. To walk beneath it, however, with eyes unmuddled by emotion, reveals a pavement-wide gap between the Victorian facade and a hastily erected modern block in shades of glassy grey, which melts out on either side of the warehouse front, its windows opening straight on to the back of the old brick wall. A book called The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism is currently being crowdfunded in order to document these hybrid buildings being flung up across the city – new offices inserted behind the mask of old pub fronts or warehouses, like Christmas tricks of ducks inside turkeys.

Once your eye is trained it seems the streets are filled with such uncomfortable facades and your mind, my mind, wanders down crowded paths of meaning in metaphor. They become an emblem for the awkward tensions between authenticity and progress, or vanity, elsewhere in modern life. For instance, the rise and normalisation of cosmetic procedures.

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Glastonbury urged to boost number of women in headline slots

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 21:00

Emily Eavis pledges 50/50 gender balance in future lineups as 8 in 10 headlines were male since 2007

Festival goers were preparing to see Kylie Minogue’s much-anticipated performance on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury on Sunday, 14 years after the singer had to cancel a headline performance in 2005 to undergo cancer treatment.

The announcement of Kylie’s performance, in the “legends” slot at Glastonbury’s biggest stage, came amid criticism of the festival for its lack of women in major headline slots. Janet Jackson played on the Pyramid stage on Saturday after the singer used photoshop to promote herself in a line-up poster.

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An app using AI to 'undress' women offers a terrifying glimpse into the future | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 02:00

Unless we start taking online misogyny seriously, we are going to face a future where women may not be able to exist online

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

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A break in and a burglary make me miss my fearless youth | Coco Khan

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 03:00

Perhaps as we age we take fewer risks. But I feel I have lost something

Recently I have had two nasty surprises. The first was finding my flat’s back windows shattered (“Was it a child’s football? Or a burglar’s fist?” I fretted). And the second was finding my car broken into. These events aren’t unusual, but because they came in quick succession, I couldn’t brush them off. I felt reduced, vulnerable and paranoid.

This, I know, is not my natural state. In my early 20s I was captivated by the idea of the flâneur – a French word for a man who roams society observing, often at night. Tellingly, flâneuse, the female equivalent, has never gained much traction.

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Celebration and Protest at this Year’s World Pride.

Women's eNews - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 15:12

It’s the last week of Pride month. One of my favorite times of the year  – a month during which LGBTIQ movements around the world celebrate progress and resilience; when attention is drawn to countering violence; when the spotlight shines on stories of LGBTIQ people to raise awareness, increase understanding, and promoting progress. Whether pride takes the shape of celebration or protest or – as it will for me – both, it is undoubtedly the time of year when our movement is seen the most, and our hearts beat the loudest.

And this year it is even more so, as we mark fifty years after the spontaneous riots in protest against police raids and shaming of LGBTIQ people at the Stonewall Inn gave rise to the contemporary LGBTIQ and Pride movements. New York is hosting World Pride to mark the occasion, recognizing the global importance of the Stonewall riots, and celebrating the incredible progress we’ve seen around the globe over the last fifty years, while also drawing attention to the horrific conditions LGBTIQ people continue to face in far too many places.

Thinking back to what our movement has achieved in 50 years is humbling. Laws criminalizing same-sex relations have fallen across the world. Just this month in Botswana and Bhutan. anti-discrimination legislation, specifically including grounds for sexual orientation and gender identity, have been adopted in numerous locations spanning the globe, most recently in North Macedonia. Recognition that love has no gender is growing, with Taiwan recently becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Pride events have grown in size, visibility and prestige; LGBTIQ characters in popular culture are growing year on year.

Without a doubt, we have a lot to celebrate!

However, the last year has also been a sobering reminder that we can never take progress for granted. After decades of incredible pride marches in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey, they have been banned and violently attacked in recent years. Pride organizers were arrested last year in Lebanon and persecutions of perceived LGBTIQ people, predominantly gay and bisexual men, continued with impunity in Chechnya. Brunei passed a final phase of Sharia law envisaging death by stoning so-called sexual offenses, including same-sex relations and adultery. Further, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education used Pride month to issue an extensive guidance document for Catholic schools and universities to promote bullying and the exclusion of LGBTIQ youth.

Moreover, sixty-eight countries and several territories still criminalize same-sex relations. In fifty-five countries LGBTIQ organizations cannot legally register, and in thirty countries there are no LGBTIQ organizations at all. LGBTIQ people are also subjected to harmful and ineffective “conversion therapies”, recognized as being tantamount to torture by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Fifty years ago, trans women were on the forefront of the Stonewall riots. Their rights have not only lagged behind in the years since, but are facing a particularly tenacious and hateful backlash now.

Even in countries where LGBTIQ progress has been made, they have faced challenges. We have seen openly transphobic comments and policies proposed by the President of the United States, and an 80% surge in hate crimes against LGBTIQ people in the UK. The so-called anti-gender movement has grown in strength and numbers, spanning across hateful civil society and religious groups aiming to challenge the existence of and exclude LGBTIQ people from human rights protections, halt gender equality efforts, restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights, and preserve a social order based on outdated, harmful gender roles.

In this context, I will be joining the World Pride March on June 30 in New York City, in celebration of all of the achievements to date. And I will smile, and dance, and enjoy the incredible energy the event will bring to the city.

But I will also march in the same spirit of protest that the first marches embodied; for we have quite the battle ahead to keep fighting for progress in the recognition of our right to be who we are and live our lives without discrimination, harassment and violence, while also preventing backsliding of the progress achieved so far.

About the author:

Jessica Stern is Executive Director of OutRight Action International, and specializes in gender, sexuality and human rights globally. At OutRight, she has supported the legal registration of LGBTIQ organizations globally, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and advanced the UN LGBTI Core Group.

Yesterday: the latest jukebox movie to put its women on mute

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 01:58

Danny Boyle’s schmaltz-fest is all about musicians, and all of them are men. It’s another hero’s journey in which women are there to dote, scold and sell out

  • Warning: this article contains spoilers for Yesterday and A Star Is Born

The premise of Yesterday should be intriguing: what would a world without the Beatles look like? Yet having set the question, director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis don’t seem terribly interested in exploring its logic: if the Beatles had never existed, why are Oasis the only other band erased by this butterfly effect? Why do characters variously reference the Beach Boys and Coldplay, bands whose existence is contingent on that of the Beatles? Why does rabid fandom, ie the long-tail evolution of Beatlemania, remain intact?

It’s not that Boyle and Curtis are incapable of holding fast to a central concept: after all, Yesterday has no trouble committing to a world in which music by women doesn’t exist, and in which women themselves are only there to enable male musicians to live out their dreams.

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What a waist: why the corset has made a regrettable return

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 00:00

On the red carpet, on Instagram, even in Mothercare – corsets are everywhere. What is behind the disturbing trend for ‘waist training’?

What could be more enjoyable after giving birth than slipping into some high heels and squeezing your postpartum body into a corset? Last week, Mothercare was accused of pandering to the pressure on new mothers to lose their pregnancy weight and remain “sexy” by selling a corset, modelled by a woman wearing patent leather platform stilettos. “I’m very anxious for women who are getting the wrong message,” Jacqui Tomkins, the chair of Independent Midwives UK, told the Times. “It’s saying the most important thing is for you to be back in shape, looking like Kim Kardashian. That worries me.” The company has since removed the product and image, but is still selling a lace-print band, described as a “tummy tucker”, to be worn around the stomach, which it claims “helps with slimming down”.

Despite this furore, the corset has been creeping back into fashion for some time. In 2016, Prada revived the garment in a more utilitarian style, worn loosely laced over thick tailoring and sweaters. This style, while still designed to bring attention to a trim waist, was not rooted in old ideas of “sexiness”. But for autumn/winter 2019, fashion designers showed a more traditional style, with a return to full corsets and wide, waist-cinching belts.

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There's no duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment. That has to change | Emily Reynolds

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 23:01

A new campaign seeks to close the gap in the law that allows too many workplaces to treat such abuse as a sad inevitability

Most of us understand how our physical wellbeing is protected at work – health and safety measures, much maligned by the right, have made sure of that. But what if you’re sexually assaulted? Shockingly, employers currently have no legal duty to prevent harassment – a glaring oversight that a new campaign by an alliance of organisations including Time’s Up, the TUC and Amnesty International is hoping to change. The alliance has also launched a petition, which has reached nearly 8,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

When I told friends I was working on the development of the campaign, their stories came flooding out. Working in bars with colleagues who wouldn’t stop touching them, threats of rape from managers, incessant, inappropriate comments on their appearance or sex lives – everyone I knew had a handful of discomfiting experiences. I had my own tales, too. The job stacking shelves next to a middle-aged shift manager who would constantly ask my colleagues whether or not they’d have sex with me; the ad man who made constant “jokes” about raping clients.

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'It’s like we’re not even human': the reality of being a trans black woman in America

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 21:00

A spate of murders in Texas has triggered old traumas and the harsh reminder of just how dangerous being trans black woman is

LeShay Weeks almost didn’t make it to the party. For 18 years, she has managed to avoid the south Dallas intersection where her friend Teniesha Johnson was murdered in front of her eyes, but today, on the drive to meet her friends, there it was, like a black hole pulling her down. For a moment, it snatched her breath away.

For Weeks and a small group of black transgender women, the back-to-back murders of their friends Muhlaysia Booker, 23, and Chynal Lindsey, 26, two weeks apart, had triggered a deluge of old traumas that lurk below the surface: their own beatings and brushes with death, being shunned by families, churches and employers, not to mention the million and one other indignities they endure daily, simply trying to exist. If there was anything harder and more dangerous than being a black woman in America, the killings reminded them, it was being a black woman whom society insisted on denying their true gender.

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We need to talk about women’s bodies – without shame | Fiona Sturges

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 19:00

I’m delighted that, in a slew of cultural projects, discussion of vulvas takes centre stage

Are vulvas having a moment? It’s a ridiculous question, I know, given that more than half of us have them. It’s like asking if bicycles are finally fashionable, or if fingernails are now a thing. But in these supposedly enlightened times, our lady-parts continue to be overlooked, misunderstood, bossed about and violated. Still, it’s been heartening of late to see vulvas (or vaginas, or fannies, or foofs – let each woman decide what she calls what’s in her pants) discussed more openly, shown off in museums and celebrated on television and in books. This isn’t about the vulva-shaped soaps and cushions flooding gift shops, or Gwyneth Paltrow and her daft vaginal eggs. I’m talking about cultural conversations and artefacts that illuminate and educate us all on matters that, by rights, should be common knowledge.

Earlier this year, Channel 4 aired 100 Vaginas, a joyful, taboo-busting documentary in which Laura Dodsworth interviewed 100 women and photographed their vulvas. The series highlighted how little the issues that have most impact on women’s lives, from sexual violence to childbirth, infertility and menopause, are openly discussed. This spring, the pop-up Vagina Museum – the first of its kind in the world – opened in Camden, north London, with the hope of breaking the stigma surrounding women’s bodies and sexuality, and has since launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to secure a permanent home.

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Medical experts criticise BBC for use of phrase 'heartbeat bill'

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 06:51

Exclusive: Group attacks ‘dangerously emotive’ language in reporting of proposed US abortion laws

An international alliance of medical experts has accused the BBC of using “medically inaccurate” and biased “dangerously emotive” language after the corporation refused to stop describing US legislation seeking to ban access in some states to legal abortions after six weeks as a “heartbeat bill”.

The phrase helps “weaponise” descriptions of abortions, claim a group of family planning specialists that includes Marie Stopes International, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

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Body foundation to cover your veins? Why Kim Kardashian's new product has caused a ruckus

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 06:49

The debate over whether makeup empowers or oppresses can’t hide the fact that female imperfection is increasingly unacceptable

As with most things Kim Kardashian does, the reality star’s latest beauty product – an already sold-out Skin Perfecting Body Foundation – has sparked an online back-and-forth about whether makeup for arms, legs and other parts of the body is feminist or not. Many say body makeup is inherently anti-feminist; others argue that it is the critique of a woman’s choice to wear body makeup that is anti-feminist.

We live in an age where it seems that women can label anything as a feminist act. To me, however, the message the product sends is quite clear: that we would probably be more comfortable in the skin we’re in if you couldn’t see it has pores. As the years-old debate about whether face makeup is empowering or oppressive rages on, men for the most part continue without it. Most of us are in agreement that, however you slice it, beauty standards are rigid and beauty regimes are still driven by external pressures rather than enjoyment. There is a difference between tolerating this and seeking its active expansion and entrenchment.

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From first period to menopause: share physical experiences of life as a woman

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:55

Be it a first orgasm, experiences with contraception and menopause or something else, we would like to hear your stories

The experience of life in a woman’s body can be challenging, embarrassing, funny and even joyful.

Is there a physical experience you’ve had as a woman that has had a significant effect on your life – good or bad – and that you consider to be underreported? We’d love to hear your stories, positive or not, affecting, angry or humorous, from your first period to the menopause and beyond.

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Trans, black and loved: what happened when I returned to the deep south after transitioning

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 19:00

Imara Jones left Georgia to discover herself as a trans woman. Two decades later, she returns to meet her family as her whole self

There is one essential truth about human beings: we all come from somewhere. Me? I’m a black trans woman who left the deep south at 18.

It’s September 2018, two decades later, and I’m in a car headed back to Georgia for the first time as my whole self – with a new body, and a whole new way of being – to meet my 95-year-old great aunt Mama Rose and the rest of my family.

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Female BAME domestic violence victims 'being failed' in Manchester

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:01

Sisters for Change and The Manchester Maya Project warns of institutional racism and sexism

Public authorities in Manchester are failing to uphold the basic human rights of ethnic minority women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse, according to a report.

The report from international NGO Sisters For Change, in partnership with The Manchester Maya Project, warns of institutional racism and sexism at the local level in Greater Manchester. It also highlights that women and children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) are not being adequately protected or getting the specialist help they need after suffering domestic abuse.

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At Code Club, 40% of students are girls – but we could still do more

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 06:05

Children need exposure to opportunities to experiment with computers, and encouragement to build their ideas

In the future world of work, many jobs will be automated. With that in mind, it makes sense for humans to focus on work that can only be done by us, requiring emotions and skills not replicable by machines, such as kindness, empathy and creativity. Despite this, our current education system focuses heavily on reading, writing and maths. They are certainly important, but focusing only on these is to the detriment of building rounded people. In my opinion, so-called “soft skills” are, in fact, essential skills for the future world of work. We need to prepare our future generations for working closely with machines by building their confidence in working with them and their agency over them.

To do this, children need exposure to opportunities to experiment with computers and encouragement to build their ideas with code. When I co-founded Code Club in 2012, which provides opportunities for children to develop coding skills through free after-school clubs, the aim wasn’t to turn every child into a programmer. It was to give them the confidence and the skills to work with technology.

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Air pollution 'may affect number of eggs ovaries can produce'

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 05:30

Results suggest environmental factors could play a role in female reproductive health

Air pollution has been linked to a drop in activity of a woman’s ovaries, researchers have revealed.

Experts say the findings suggest the female reproductive system is affected by environmental factors, although the study does not look specifically at the impact of air pollution on fertility.

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