Women's News from the Web

Bluetooth your bladder: the hi-tech way to beat incontinence

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 04:00
Urinary leakage affects millions of women, who have often suffered in silence. That may change with Elvie, a new way to strengthen the pelvic floor – involving an app

There are nappies in my wardrobe, but I have no children nor a sexual fetish. Instead, I have a problem shared by millions of women (and some men): I cannot always control my bladder as well as I want to, no matter how many toilet visits I have made beforehand. I have incontinence, and I am not alone: in the UK, up to 40% of women have incontinence at some point, either because they have given birth or are menopausal, because of genetics, or simply because of age. Up to 70% of expectant and new mothers experience incontinence, and a quarter of men over 40 – though, given how shameful it is thought to be, the figures are likely to be conservative. We mask, we hide, we cope.

The pelvic floor – a sling of muscles stretching from the tailbone to the pubic bone – supports the bladder, bowel and womb. These muscles are meant to contract to stopper any flow of urine. (The muscles are also sometimes referred to as a “trampoline” – a sour joke for women who know trampolining is a sure way to wet pants.)

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The trouble with ‘woke’ ads is they’re just another cliché

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 22:00

The advertising industry has got the body-imaging message, now they’re trying to sell it back to us

Every now and then it’s important, isn’t it, to take the temperature of where we are with the whole “feminism” project. Specifically in relation to women’s bodies – these soft maps where international politics plays out daily, from the way they’re criminalised by the men controlling anti-abortion laws to our evolving body-image crisis, now entering its late stages.

At the beginning of the new Boots advert, we watch two women watch an advert, a Protein World-style video of a hot bikini girl asking: “Are you summer ready?” But these are modern women, able to dissect and name the clichés that have rained and then hailed down on them since puberty. So instead of doubling over with shame and regret, they laugh. After a slick of lip balm and spritz of hair stuff, they saunter across a beach, past a disapproving model-type, before, with brave Thelma and Louise-esque grimaces, throwing off their sarongs to dance gleefully in the sea. The slogan appears: “Let’s feel good about summer.”

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My friends’ husbands keep hitting on me. How can I stop them? | Dear Mariella

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 19:00

It’s reassuring to know that our allure doesn’t fade with age, says Mariella, and while it may actually be the opposite, it’s hard to know what’s prompted this epidemic of lust

The dilemma I’m a 60-year-old grey-haired woman, reasonably fit and not ugly, but not particularly beautiful. I don’t wear sexy clothing and I can’t fill a double-A bra. I’ve never been tempted to cheat on my husband of 30+ years. But the husbands of my girlfriends keep hitting on me. Two nights ago, one of these husbands had his hands all over me while my husband and his wife were in the same room. I didn’t want to make a scene that would upset the friendly relationships among the couples. I don’t want to lose my girlfriend’s friendship, which is extremely important to me, and I don’t want my husband to get angry with her husband. This is not the first time. The same thing happened with another couple, and after I told my husband about the man’s advances, all communication between both husbands and both wives ended. What am I doing wrong? How can I stay close to my girlfriends and enjoy going out as couples with our husbands without having them hit on me?

Mariella replies Nice problem to have. Swatting off amorous men is no hardship at any age so long as they are prepared to take no for an answer. Thanks for pointing out that there is nothing about you that anyone should find attractive. Grey hair, post-menopausal, small breasts and sensible clothes – what’s to like? Or could it be that our entrenched assumptions about sexual attraction are inaccurate? It’s very easy to feel that we live in a world where unless you’re cosmetically enhanced or blessed with a Baywatch body your ability to find a partner will forever be compromised. But looking around there’s way too much evidence that the opposite is true.

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Childfree by choice: stop telling me I'll change my mind later

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 10:00

Saying a woman will regret it returns to the idea of motherhood as the natural position and anything else as deviant

At work a while back, I was complaining that the air-con – usually set to subzero – was turned up to practically balmy. No one else agreed; my mate reached for the emergency nanna rug we keep in the office.

“Huh,” I said. “Must be the menopause.”

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Seriously, Meryl Streep? 'Toxic masculinity' doesn't hurt men – it kills them | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 02:00

In America, men are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women, and many experts say it’s because they’re told not to express emotions

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

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Threat to Missouri abortion clinic leaves neighboring providers scrambling

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 20:00

With reproductive rights under aggressive attack, clinics across state lines are bracing for an influx of women seeking care

Dr Erin King felt a weight lift off her shoulders – at least for a few minutes.

The executive director of Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois had spent a week “scrambling” to prepare for an influx of patients from St Louis – just about a 10-minute drive across the Mississippi River – as Missouri threatened to close its last legal abortion provider by the end of the week at midnight.

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Missouri abortion clinic to stay open – for now – after judge's order

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 09:04
  • Michael Stelzer stops Missouri from allowing license to lapse
  • Threat to clinic came amid growing push against women’s rights

A judge has issued an order allowing Missouri’s only abortion clinic to continue to provide the service, just hours before the St Louis Planned Parenthood clinic’s license to perform abortions was set to expire.

Planned Parenthood supporters gathered outside the clinic breathed a sigh of relief after the ruling from circuit judge Michael Stelzer. He issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Missouri from allowing the license to lapse.

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Want to be Tory leader and say you’re a feminist? Show us how, exactly | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 06:50

Candidates’ declarations of solidarity look like virtue signalling. We will judge them on their actions

Actions speak louder than words. And certainly T-shirts. Do you remember a few years back, when various celebs and politicians from Benedict Cumberbatch to Nick Clegg posed in This Is What A Feminist Looks Like T-shirts? It’s always dodgy when men do this stuff. Most women just think: “Why don’t you get on with being a good ally. Walk alongside us, not in front of us.”

Yet this particular identity debate has now surfaced in the Tory leadership contest, which is suddenly chock-a-block with some unlikely specimens claiming to be feminists. Of course the leadership contest, in which 120,000 or so rank-and-file members of the Tory party choose the next prime minister, would do well to drape itself in T-shirts carrying This Is Not What Democracy Looks Like slogans, for it is indeed an affront to the very notion.

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Ten years after abortion doctor's murder, one woman carries the fight for reproductive rights

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 02:12

In 2009, George Tiller was shot dead in Kansas. Today, as America’s discord over abortion reaches fever pitch, Julie Burkhart is keeping the flame alive

Julie Burkhart remembers all too vividly the morning of 31 May 2009. It was a Sunday and she was in a meeting in Washington DC when, shortly after 10am, her phone started buzzing incessantly with calls from her home town of Wichita, Kansas.

Related: Hollywood backlash over Georgia abortion law grows

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Meryl Streep: 'We hurt our boys by calling something "toxic masculinity"'

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 02:02

The actor has taken issue with the phrase, saying that such labels block communication, and that women can also be toxic

Meryl Streep has criticised the phrase “toxic masculinity”, saying it is offensive to men. “We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity,” she said. “Women can be pretty fucking toxic … It’s toxic people.”

Streep was speaking at a panel discussion about the forthcoming second season of female-fronted show Big Little Lies, and brought the issue up after co-star Nicole Kidman recalled a male fan telling her about his enjoyment of the first series.

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An encounter in an alley reminded me why women always need survival instincts | Emma Brockes

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 22:24
Even in a leafy Massachusetts town, a woman can’t forget to be ready to run – it’s enraging

I was in Massachusetts, in a leafy college town that seemed entirely made up of bakeries and gift shops selling dresses from the 1980s. The Amtrak railway station was in the middle of the town and, because it was under renovation, it wasn’t clear where the entrance was. I ducked down a side alley and, as a guy, unkempt with a backpack, walked towards me, I went automatically through the usual rigmarole: was the music on too loud in the bar 500 yards back for anyone to hear me? How soon could I backtrack without alerting the guy to the fact I was spooked? Why hadn’t I stayed out the front?

An hour earlier, I had taken an Uber from the hotel to the station. The driver had gone off the main route on to what he said was a shortcut. “This doesn’t look right,” he said, as we swung off a suburban street on to a semi-dirt track and I thought: you’re telling me. He was talking pleasantly about TV shows; it was the middle of the day. But I followed our progress on the app until we rejoined the main road.

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Georgia’s largest businesses decline to take stance on contentious abortion bill

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:00

Disney and Netflix consider ending production in the state but others, such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola and UPS, avoid the debate

Georgia is home to some of the world’s biggest businesses but those corporations are so far avoiding becoming involved in a growing debate over the state’s recent passing of a controversial abortion bill.

Entertainment giants Disney and Netflix this week said that they are considering ending production in the state if it implements a bill that bans abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy – a point when many women won’t know they are pregnant.

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Netflix and Disney threaten to boycott Georgia over abortion rights

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:00

Firms refused to comment on filming in Northern Ireland where laws are stricter

Netflix and Disney are threatening to pull film production in Georgia over the US state’s new abortion law – but neither company will comment on whether they will continue to make shows in Northern Ireland, where women face even more restrictions on their reproductive rights.

Georgia’s proposed law, which has prompted a growing boycott from the entertainment industry and leading actors, will ban women from seeking an abortion after six weeks. By comparison, Northern Ireland’s longstanding ban on abortion is absolute from the moment of conception, with anyone obtaining an abortion theoretically facing life imprisonment.

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Eight Tory leadership candidates declare themselves feminists

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 08:11

Candidates respond after Dominic Raab said he was ‘probably not’ a feminist

Most of the Conservative leadership candidates – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock, Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart and James Cleverly – have all declared that they are feminists, after Dominic Raab said he was “probably not” one.

The question of women’s equality became an issue in the contest after Raab, one of the favourites to be Conservative leader, rejected the label of feminism and stuck by his 2011 assertion that feminists are among the most “obnoxious bigots”.

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Wisdom for happy, modern marriages | Letters

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 07:03
Men who want to change need to organise themselves, writes Henrietta Cubitt. And one reader reflects on her relationship of 50-plus years

What an interesting article by Hadley Freeman (Marriage isn’t the problem, it’s husbands, 30 May). I agree that for a marriage to be happy, it needs to be an equal partnership. The problem is, we learn how to behave from our parents, and other adults, showing us when we are children. A girl learns very early that she is expected to grow up and be like her mother (and other women), and she watches and learns, this before she is old enough to remember. Boys learn the same about growing up to be men; they see that they won’t be doing any childcare or managing the house, so they don’t need to learn how to do it.

With some things, people notice when they are older that something isn’t fair and they decide, consciously, to do it differently when they grow up. But it would not help relationships if women had to teach their husbands how to look after the baby, how to wash up, and especially how to keep in mind all the chores that need to be done. Could men who want to change organise themselves into a group and arrange to be taught these things? Please don’t tell me women should do that for them!
Henrietta Cubitt
Cambridge

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Revealed: women's fertility app is funded by anti-abortion campaigners

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 20:00

The Femm app has users in the US, EU and Africa and sows doubt over the safety of birth control, a Guardian investigation has found

A popular women’s health and fertility app sows doubt about birth control, features claims from medical advisers who are not licensed to practice in the US, and is funded and led by anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic campaigners, a Guardian investigation has found.

The Femm app, which collects personal information about sex and menstruation from users, has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its launch in 2015, according to developers. It has users in the US, the EU, Africa and Latin America, its operating company claims.

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Disney CEO: abortion law would make it difficult to keep filming in Georgia

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 16:17

Bob Iger said many who work for Disney would not want to work there if the strict law, which bans abortion as early as six weeks, was in effect

The chief executive of the Walt Disney Company said Georgia’s new strict abortion law would make it “very difficult” for the media company to keep filming in the state.

Walt Disney Co chief executive Bob Iger told Reuters on Wednesday that the law would cause many people to not want to work in the state if it were to go in effect.

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Louisiana is latest to pass six-week abortion ban

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 13:01

In a 79-23 vote, Louisiana house passed bill that would prohibit the procedure before some women even know they are pregnant

Louisiana lawmakers on Wednesday passed a strict new abortion ban that would prohibit the procedure before some women even know they are pregnant, joining a half-dozen conservative states with similar measures.

In a 79-23 vote, the Louisiana house gave final passage to a bill barring abortion beyond the sixth week of pregnancy. The law is described inaccurately by its supporters as banning abortion after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, but experts have pointed out that this terminology is wrong on both accounts.

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The BBC ripped off my Slay in Your Lane slogan – now I’m being attacked | Yomi Adegoke

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 04:55

The phrase, which my co-author and I trademarked in 2018, is the title of our book about uplifting black women. When I called out an all-white team at the BBC for using it on a billboard, I was shocked at the reaction

In 2015, my best friend, Elizabeth Uviebinené, sent me a picture of Solange Knowles at Paris fashion week, basking in the pre-release glow of a seminal album and coming into her own after years under the moniker “Beyoncé’s little sister”. Elizabeth captioned it “Slay in Your Lane”. I rang her to say it would be the name of the book we were going to write – a guide to life aimed at black British women, featuring advice from trailblazing interviewees.

We hadn’t come across the phrase elsewhere and thought it was clever, so in 2018 we trademarked it. The BBC thought it was clever, too: last week, our readers began to notify us of billboards they had seen emblazoned with the slogan. Most who contacted us assumed, since it used a bold font like the one on the cover of our book and was fronted by Dina Asher-Smith, a successful black British sprinter, that there was some affiliation or that we were at least aware of the BBC’s use of the slogan for its campaign. We weren’t, and immediately made contact with the BBC. We received no response for four days.

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How Joe Hildebrand made the murder of a woman about his feelings | Van Badham

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 05/28/2019 - 20:26

Either we can truthfully have the conversation about how we work together to transform the social understanding of gender roles or – do what, exactly?

Commentator Joe Hildebrand informed me this morning that one of my Twitter followers is a murderer.

He can’t tell me which one, of course. He’s speaking statistically, not to me direct, in a comment piece he published to justify the remarks he made on Studio 10 earlier this week.

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