Women's News from the Web

Labour leadership: row over support for trans rights charter

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 02:46

Candidates criticised for endorsing group that describes Woman’s Place UK as ‘trans-exclusionist hate group’

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner and Dawn Butler have backed a new trans rights charter that calls on Labour to expel “transphobic” members and describes campaigns including Woman’s Place UK as “trans-exclusionist hate groups”.

A row broke out over the endorsements after Long-Bailey, a leadership candidate, as well as two deputy hopefuls, Rayner and Butler, all expressed support for the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights’ 12-point pledge card.

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The 1975 commit to playing only gender-balanced music festivals

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 02:43

Following criticism of Reading and Leeds festival for its heavily male lineup, frontman Matt Healy says ‘this is how male artists can be true allies’

Matt Healy, frontman of Brit award-winning band the 1975, has said the group will only perform at festivals with a gender-balanced lineup.

Healy was responding to a call by the Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes for the band to “add a condition to your rider that says you’ll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non-binary performers”. He wrote: “Take this as me signing this contract – I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets. But from now I will, and believe this is how male artists can be true allies.”

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Erykah Badu is making vagina-scented incense. A perfumer explained it to us

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 23:10

After Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina-scented candle, we asked an expert what’s going on in the world of fragrances

Last month, at the request of absolutely no one, Gwyneth Paltrow released a candle that smells like her vagina. She was promptly followed by Erykah Badu, who announced she was going to sell her own vagina-scented incense. (“The people deserve it”, she said.)

We asked a perfumer, Christopher Gordon from the Perfumer’s Studio in Los Angeles, whether it is possible to make a candle that smells like a vagina; whether he’s ever made one before; and what exactly is going on in the world of perfume.

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The cheating wife, her rich lover and a court case for 'immoral' Pakistan TV hit Meray Paas Tum Ho

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 23:00

Creators of Meray Paas Tum Ho could be facing legal suit amid accusations the hugely popular show was ‘misogynistic’

A court in Pakistan has summoned the creators of a wildly popular television series after a petition was filed demanding they apologise for portraying Pakistani women as “greedy, selfish and non-professional”.

In the petition filed at the Sindh high court last month, lawyer Sana Saleem said the television series Meray Paas Tum Ho (I Have You) was “ridiculing a woman who makes the same decision as every other man in society”.

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Redemption: Not All Mistakes Are Created Equal

Women's eNews - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 13:21

What does redemption mean and how does it happen?

Should we forever be defined by the worst mistake we’ve ever made?

In the new Podcast: Post-Coffee, Pre-Wine, author Amy Ferris and publishing veteran Teresa Stack talk about redemption and second chances, and finding peace – their peace. They share their own stories and share their truth, and by digging deep within themselves, you may find yourself doing the same…

You can listen by clicking onto any of the links below:

Who is Amy Ferris?
Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screenwriter & playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis(Seal Press) was adapted into an Off-Broadway play at CAP21 Theater Company in 2012.
She created The Ovary Office (in collaboration with Women’s eNews) and recently co-authored a book Old School Love for Harper Collins,

Who is Teresa Stack?
Teresa Stack was the president of The Nation magazine from 1998-2016.  During her 30+ years in publishing, she was a long-time member of the Independent Magazine Advisory Group of the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) and a founding member of the Media Consortium,.Teresa is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Sing a song of sex work – why no one needs a Pretty Woman musical | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 22:00

The sanitisation of sex work and the view of women as commodities was deemed acceptable in the 1990s, but it does not deserve a retread

I covered the Cannes film festival once and it was instructive. I drifted around following the money, succumbing to the madness of trying to get into parties on boats as big as castles. I watched minor royals doing drugs. I watched women get sewn into dresses, get into limos, drive 100 metres and then hobble up the red stairs. The one thing I didn’t do there was watch a film.

The performance that really fascinated me was the performance of pitching – that’s where the money is. Big-screen writers told me all about good and bad pitches; unfailingly, what I thought was bad – a movie very similar to another successful movie – was deemed good.

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Want gender equality? Then fight for fathers’ rights to shared parental leave | Alexandra Topping

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 21:00

The UK should take a leaf out of Finland’s book and give men non-transferable time off to care for their children

So Finland has done it again. Not content with trialling universal basic income, solving homelessness and producing an all-female political coalition, the Nordic country has now introduced one of the most equitable parental leave policies in Europe.

Under new rules, all Finnish mothers and fathers will both get nearly seven months’ paid leave, half of which will be non-transferable, while all references to maternity and paternity leave are being scrapped. That sends a very clear message: all parents, from all types of families, are equal in this endeavour.

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A Monumental Week for Women: Right Here, Right Now!

Women's eNews - Sun, 02/09/2020 - 14:20

Yesterday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined NYC elected officials and women’s rights advocates at the historic Roosevelt House at Hunter College to rally support for critical legislation expected to pass the House of Representatives this week. 

During this week, the House of Representatives is expected to pass  H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act and H.J.Res. 79 to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Ahead of this monumental week, the coalition of women’s rights advocates came together to celebrate these historic milestones in the fight for women’s equality

“I have worked my entire career to make sure women are represented in the halls of Congress and in seats of power. This next week in Congress will be historic for women and a culmination of decades of advocacy. The passage of H.R. 1980 and H.J. Res. 79 is vital to celebrating women’s achievements in history, inspiring the next generation to make history themselves, and finally ensuring that women’s equality is enshrined in our Constitution. I am thrilled to take these next huge steps in the fight for women’s equality,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).

“As the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, we have a moral responsibility to continue the fight for full equality,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “In New York, we have taken action to protect the rights of women and all New Yorkers across our great state. We have accomplished a lot, but we still have more work to do. With strong advocates and partners like Rep. Carolyn Maloney, we must work together to secure equality for all and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.?”?

“The time is right, now more than ever to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. I commend America’s Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, for her work and her leadership to pass the ERA for women and girls. At the New York State level, we are going to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the State Constitution. We can no longer stand by and watch our rights continue to be rolled back, so this is the year that we’ll make the ERA happen at state and federal level,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. 

Congresswoman Maloney is a longtime champion of the Equal Rights Amendment and it is exciting to see the ERA move forward. One hundred years after women’s suffrage, it is clear from pay inequity, gender-based violence, and so many other indicators that women and girls remain unequal in this country. The ERA will help end second-class citizenship. It is long overdue,” said Jessica Neuwirth, Co-President of the ERA Coalition,

“We are excited to join Congresswoman Maloney today as we announce that the fourth annual Campus ERA Day will take place on Monday, April 27 at 7pm. The ERA Coalition will work once again with the Grove Fellows at Hunter College to organize the annual event. Campus ERA Day will take on added significance this year now that the Equal Rights Amendment has satisfied all the requirements under Article V for inclusion in the U.S. Constitution,” said Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality.  


Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

  • Rep. Maloney is the lead sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment and has reintroduced it in every session of Congress since 1997 (in the 105th Congress).
  • Congress passed the ERA in 1972, and was sent to the states for ratification. Unfortunately, by the time the deadline passed in 1982, the ERA was just three states shy of the thirty-eight necessary to amend the Constitution.
  • With Virginia’s vote to ratify the ERA in January, three quarters of states have now ratified the ERA, making the amendment eligible to be added to the U.S. Constitution
  • H.J. Res 79 would remove the deadline for the ratification of the ERA to clarify any legal ambiguities that may exist with regard to the deadline and reaffirm Congressional support for the ERA.

H.R. 1980: Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act

  • In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission — created by a bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney — issued a report recommending the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum dedicated to women’s history.
  • In March 2019, Rep. Maloney introduced the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to establish such a museum on the National Mall. The bill has broad bipartisan support with293 cosponsors in the house.
  • There is no comprehensive museum anywhere in the U.S. dedicated to the full story of women’s history.

Feminism, flour bombs and the first black Miss World

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 21:55
Millions watched as protesters took over the 1970 Miss World contest. Now, as a film recounts the story, Jennifer Hosten tells of winning the crown and her own battle with racism

It was the era of apartheid in South Africa, the civil rights movement in America and women’s liberation in Britain. And they all came together at one of the most-watched live television events of the time, when feminist protesters stormed the stage at Miss World 1970, and a black woman walked away from the beauty contest with the crown for the first time.

Fifty years on, that night is being retold in a film, Misbehaviour, inspired by the memoir of Jennifer Hosten, who won the contest and made history. In the decades that have followed, the one-time beauty queen has come to the conclusion that she and the women disrupting the competition had more in common than they might have thought.

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My husband left me for another woman – but now wants me back | Dear Mariella

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 20:00

He’s now deceiving his mistress, so think hard about the reality of your 20-year marriage, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma Last year I found out that my husband of 20 years had been having an affair for a few months. It came as a terrible shock – I cried and cried for weeks. When asked to choose between her and me, he chose her and left me. I kept on crying. Two months after this revelation, I met someone and fell in love. This was a lifesaving event. Suddenly I could endure the pain of my husband’s betrayal. I felt alive and young again.

Now, my husband wants me back. He sees me happy and free from him, which of course is more attractive than a lamenting woman. He is still with his girlfriend and is probably worried to leave her in case I don’t take him back. I am torn. I’m happy with my new lover, especially sexually, but I also long for the relationship I had with my husband. He remains my best friend and we have so much in common.

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The menopause myth: how demonised HRT came back from the brink | Ginni Mansberg

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 09:00

We need to normalise menopause, not be shamed by it. And women need to cast off their fear about treatment and feel empowered to seek help

Statistics tell us that ultimately all women who reach a certain age – average 51 – will hit menopause. Of these, 75% will get symptoms from the well-known hot flushes to others like weight gain, low libido, mood swings, insomnia, aches and pains and a whole delightful suite of vaginal and urinary symptoms like burning, pain and incontinence.

If I mention hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to my patients as a way out, many recoil in horror. They suspect I might be trying to give them breast cancer. “It’s not that bad,” they often say. “I don’t want to put hormones in my body.” They’d rather sacrifice their sleep, comfort, sex lives and minds rather than take the “poison apple” offered by their doctor when we know that when given to the right women, HRT is 98% effective for relieving at least the hot flushes … Seriously?

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Of course women trusted Manish Shah. Wasn’t he their doctor, after all? | Barbara Ellen

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 06:10
If female patients can’t even feel safe at their doctor’s surgery, where can they?

It sounds to me that the London GP Manish Shah not only sexually assaulted female patients, but that he despised them too.

Shah has been given three life sentences for committing a total of 90 sexual assaults on 24 female patients at Mawney medical centre in Romford, east London, between 2009 and 2013. Claiming he was practising “defensive medicine”, he gave healthy women under 25 smear tests (generally performed by a nurse) and performed unnecessary breast examinations on women under 50. Shah breached NHS guidelines by not offering a chaperone for intimate examinations and didn’t always wear gloves. He left one patient entirely naked on the table. The youngest of his victims was 15, and her experiences left her “anxious, fearful and shaking” and afraid of visiting doctors.

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Republican lawmaker is about to regret messing with drag queens | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 04:00

A Missouri representative has filed a bill that takes aim at Drag Queen Story Hour, establishes censorship and punishes librarians

Who’s afraid of the big bad drag queen? Missouri, apparently. A Republican lawmaker in the conservative state has introduced a bill that could jail librarians who host a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) or let kids check out “inappropriate” books.

Ben Baker’s Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, filed last month, would establish a panel of parents that would determine whether or not a book is “appropriate for children”. Books deemed to contain “age-inappropriate sexual material” would be moved to a restricted part of the library. Any librarian who allowed kids access to these books could get up to a year in jail; the library would also lose funding.

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Bids on Tracy Brabin's off-the-shoulder dress pass £14,000

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 01:44

Proceeds from online auction of House of Commons dress to go to Girlguiding charity

Bids on an off-the-shoulder dress worn by Tracy Brabin in the House of Commons have passed £14,000 in a charity auction.

The Labour MP was forced to defend her attire after the dress slipped off her shoulder when she leaned on the dispatch box because of a broken ankle on Tuesday.

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Marriage Story: What Heterosexual Relationships Can Learn from Queer Divorce

Women's eNews - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 08:21

As Marriage Story grasps for an Oscar, this weekend we are reminded that the story of a heterosexual couple going through a painful, cruel divorce is the unfortunate story of many in our country. And yet, it doesn’t have to be. We are active participants in the culture that benefits from and monetizes our own suffering.

As the child of heterosexual divorce and as a queer stepmother now, I was warned not to watch this movie. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Adam Driver describes the movie as a love story told in the lens of divorce. Charlie and Nicole intend to have a friendly divorce, Driver says, but other people’s opinions, agendas and lawyers wind up propelling the legal battle in the end.

What I would add to Driver’s analysis is that the agenda and those opinions are rooted in heteronormativity, which is what allows the legal process to go from fact-finding and fair treatment to cruel performance art.

Heteronormativity is the notion that heterosexual coupling (and marriage) is the norm, and our culture should essentially be built to support it. Heteronormativity is the breeder (no pun intended) of the Hallmark Channel, daddy-daughter dances, “mancaves” and separating McDonald’s toys into “girls” and “boys” toys. Heteronormativity plays a role in domestic abuse and homophobia and the proliferator of painful and scarring divorces like Charlie and Nicole’s in Marriage Story.

During Nicole’s first visit with Nora, her lawyer says, “Once we have babies, we become the mom and they get sick of us.” Yeah, Nicole responds. During Charlie’s visit to the initial lawyer he speaks with, he is asked a series of questions intended to get at Nicole’s potential vices – to which Charlie responds with my favorite line of the movie, “She was addicted to Tums for a while.” The lawyer warns Charlie that he’s not going to win “if she’s the perfect mother.”

This is not a commentary on divorce lawyers. The lawyers are just using what’s already there – the heteronormative culture we have created and continue to willingly buy into. Despite the original wishes of Charlie and Nicole to keep it friendly, they got caught up too, as many heterosexual divorces do, and one of the very things that marriage is built on and cherished by our culture – parenthood – is also the thing that is turned against them during their legal battle.

Despite the fact that heteronormativity is a plague on our culture, it still privileges heterosexual couples on an everyday level, and therefore, the groundwork on which a same-sex marriage stands is already different from the ground on which a heterosexual marriage stands, and that makes the grounds of divorce different, too.

Heteronormativity is often dangerous for LGBTQ communities in general, and we’ve had to learn how to adapt, shift, hide and fight. It’s made us resilient, yes, but it’s also forced us to assemble and disassemble our relationships differently.

Due to the high rate of homelessness and familial rejection for LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ communities often bond together as each other’s families. These are not blood ties, these are heart ties, born from understanding the devastation and hopelessness that comes from the rejection from one’s family of origin. We continue to re-define the word “family,” unraveling the traditional definition that has betrayed us and instead, created a unit of people who sustain us as human beings to be loved, celebrated, protected and given another chance.

Additionally, same-sex couples are not bound to the same prescribed gender roles written by our culture and enjoyed by many heterosexual couples.

Of course, the frustrations of marriage do not discriminate completely along the lines of gender or sexual orientation, and someone has to do the dishes, bring in a paycheck or stay up all night with a sick child. And yes, there might be someone in the marriage in an unhealthy place and they wind up legally battling their partner during the divorce.

Moreover, there are people who have arranged their heterosexual marriages differently to be more egalitarian, and some early trends show that younger generations are putting off marriage to create more financial stability and effectively avoid the “first divorce.”

But in queer culture, the conversations about child custody are different, because LGBTQ people aren’t “supposed” to have kids in the first place. The financial discussions are different, because perhaps one or both partners don’t have family money to rely on due to estrangement, or underemployment because one partner is transgender. The property discussion is different, because perhaps there isn’t enough access to safe housing in the area for LGBTQ individuals. And because of those reasons, divorces look different for us.

For example: now as a queer stepmom, I knew when I married my wife, her ex-wife and their children were to become my family, too. I understood that the success and happiness of my wife’s ex- and their children was directly tied to me, individually and to the collective LGBTQ community. And to achieve that, it meant taking a different approach to raising the kids, finances and scheduling. Case in point: we switch the kids every day. And if that seems odd to you, that’s heteronormativity creeping up (i.e. the assumption that children need to stay with their mother for the majority of the time – but what happens when there are only mothers?)

But it should look different for heterosexual couples, too. You can see glimmers in Marriage Story pleading to get rid of the common constraints and allow the love of their relationship – regardless of its dissolution – to guide what’s best for all involved. There’s no need for the backstabbing betrayal or dragging your children through the mud just because the heteronormative fantasies that have been sold to you your whole life didn’t work out. We are all humans, despite who we love, and forcing us to conform to a set of constraints that create more suffering serves no one.

About the Author: Lauryn Bianco is Vice President of Operations and Philanthropy at Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse in Tucson, Arizona, and a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project.

Prince William's Baftas tirade was insultingly misdirected – he should resign as its president | David Cox

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 03:04

Is the Duke of Cambridge sabotaging the voting system? Or simply saving face by attacking an acceptable – if innocent – party?

The other day, I wrote to Prince William, urging him to resign. Not from his second-in-line thingy: he seems to do that job OK, if nowhere near as well as his wife does hers. The post I called on him to renounce was the presidency of Bafta. As a voting academician, I felt obliged to take this step after puzzling over the opaque remarks he read from notes at Sunday’s awards ceremony.

The purpose of the academy’s annual awards is “to recognise, honour and reward individuals for outstanding achievement in feature films released in the UK within the awards year”. In casting my votes, I aimed to observe this rubric. From what I know of my fellow academicians, they would have done likewise. Yet our president appeared to think we had done something wrong.

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Missouri lawmaker wants police officers to stop women from getting abortions

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 00:00

Mike Moon introduced bill that would redefine fertilized egg as a person and effectively turn any attempt to terminate a pregnancy into murder

A Missouri state representative who once beheaded a chicken on Facebook to make a point about abortion wants police officers to stop women from terminating pregnancies.

Mike Moon, a Republican Missouri state representative, introduced a bill he calls the Right to Due Process Act, which redefines a fertilized egg as a person with all the constitutional rights of any other citizen. The suggested law then requires police and the courts to “affirmatively enforce” the Missouri constitution’s due process clause which guarantees legal rights to people, effectively turning any attempt to terminate a pregnancy into murder.

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We will end female genital mutilation only by backing frontline activists

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/05/2020 - 23:00

From the Gambia to Kenya, FGM has been fought most successfully at grassroots level. The world must pay heed

I underwent female genital mutilation at the age of seven, while on holiday in Djibouti. When I returned to school in the UK my teacher told me that this happened to “girls like me”.

Thankfully, this type of reaction is no longer common, and this country is much better equipped to protect girls at risk. FGM is now seen as a global issue, which we know has affected more than 200 million women and girls around the world.

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We should celebrate the sex appeal of pregnant women, not shame them | Yomi Adegoke

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/05/2020 - 07:11

Nothing makes me happier than seeing women such as Jodie Turner-Smith deem their bump a part of their body to show proudly

It was hard to believe that Jodie Turner-Smith, the chiselled-from-black-marble female lead of Queen & Slim, the feature film debut from Melina Matsoukas, could get any more resplendent. Then she got pregnant. Last Friday, she glowed on Graham Norton’s couch, her bare bump on display below a chic, one-shouldered crop top.

Not everyone was as taken with the vision. Inevitable uproar ensued over her audacity to don anything other than a muumuu, to which she clapped back via Twitter, sharing a picture of herself in the outfit with the caption: “Gives zero fucks about your disdain for pregnant women’s bodies on British television.” Personally, I love maternity looks where the bump is treated like another piece of flesh to flash, even if somehow it still rankles with some people.

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Why Tracy Brabin was right to give sexist critics the cold shoulder

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 02/05/2020 - 04:04

The MP responded to comments about her clothes in fine style, but the heavily gendered insults aimed at her prove that male counterparts in the Commons are held to different standards

Tracy Brabin MP is a class act. Following a tide of hate on social media for wearing an off-the-shoulder top in the House of Commons, she tweeted: “I can confirm I’m not a slag, hungover, a tart, about to breastfeed, a slapper, drunk or just been banged over a wheelie bin.”

Notice, if you will, how gendered most of these slurs were: the full kaleidoscope of every crime a woman can commit, across the whole middle section of her life cycle, from having sex to nurturing a child. We cannot, therefore, make a straight comparison between Brabin and her male colleagues, in terms of whose attire is the most policed. Even if the prime minister, say, were to look like he had just rolled in a pile of jumble and stood up, nobody would infer recent sexual activity from it (unless “just got divorced” falls into that category).

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