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Women dressed ‘provocatively’ are being arrested in Nigeria. The law’s still failing us | Sede Alonge

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 02:45
Those arrested in Abuja nightclubs were labelled prostitutes – despite there being no evidence. In this society, you don’t need any

Nigerian media has been awash with news of a recent police raid in the capital, Abuja, in which dozens of women were arrested in and around nightclubs on charges of prostitution. A city official said one way police assessed the potential guilt of the women was if they were dressed “provocatively”. No men were arrested in the raid. There was also an ominously conspicuous absence of any evidence of soliciting, which is a crime under Nigerian law. Most alarming of all, there are witness reports of rape, sexual assault and financial extortion of the women by the policemen who arrested them. Some of the women were taken to a mobile court and allegedly pressured to plead guilty to charges of prostitution on the spot.

Such arrests don't just disregard due process but send a clear message as to who's in charge: men

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Caster Semenya is a victim of rules that are confusing and unfair | Kenan Malik

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 19:00
Debate over the runner has been fierce. An even fiercer one awaits about transgender athletes

Should women with naturally elevated levels of testosterone be able to compete in women’s events? That’s the question with which athletics has been grappling over the past decade. Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), international sport’s highest court, ruled that such athletes could be banned unless they took medication to reduce their testosterone levels.

The Cas case had been brought by Caster Semenya, the South African Olympic champion, who, after winning her stunning 30th consecutive 800m victory in Doha on Friday, insisted that she would carry on racing in middle distance events, but would not take testosterone-reducing medication. From the moment she burst on to the international stage a decade ago, questions were raised about her sex. Semenya is hyperandrogenic – she has a much higher level of testosterone than most women.

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Nurse in trousers told her London Marathon record would not count

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 13:09

Guinness World Records says Jessica Anderson needed to have had a dress on to qualify

An NHS nurse who ran the London Marathon was told her Guinness World Record attempt would not count because she was not wearing a dress.

Jessica Anderson, who has been working for the Royal London Hospital’s acute admission unit for seven years, was aiming to become the fastest female marathon runner dressed as a nurse but her scrubs and trousers did not match the uniform criteria.

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Don’t shake off the Taylor Swift-Beyoncé controversy as just a performance | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 03:00

Swift’s Billboard Music awards set was reminiscent of Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella show – highlighting the history of black women’s achievements being ignored

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

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Feminist lawyers of South Asia rally to aid of #MeToo survivors

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 03:00
Facing down intimidation, women all over this traditional region are speaking out about sexual harassment and violence

Ali Zafar is famed across South Asia for his pop music, romantic comedies and even the occasional toothpaste advert. But last weekend he gave a particularly emotional performance on Pakistani television, tears welling in his eyes as he spoke of the effect sexual harassment allegations has had on his life. For the past year, the actor and musician has been embroiled in the country’s most high-profile #MeToo case: his initial accuser was the actress and singer Meesha Shafi.

Last April she issued a statement claiming that Zafar had sexually harassed her “on more than one occasion”. He responded by “categorically denying” the allegations and promising to sue.

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We don't need fraternities. Swarthmore was right to shut their's down | Jill Filipovic

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 00:00

Fraternities are pernicious forces for too many of the young men who join them, and for even more of the young women who walk through their doors

Here’s a line you don’t read very often: after evidence of truly egregious misogyny and bigotry was leaked to the public, two fraternities have decided to voluntarily disband.

The news comes out of Swarthmore, a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. Internal documents from the Phi Psi fraternity, which were penned between 2010 and 2016, detailed a so-called “rape attic” at the fraternity, and included explicit and degrading details of sexual interactions with women. In response, several Swarthmore students staged a sit-in at Phi Psi, demanding that the university revoke their lease.

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Estonia minister calls first female president 'emotionally heated woman'

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:31

Kersti Kaljulaid criticised by far-right minister for leaving swearing-in ceremony of minister accused of domestic violence

Estonia’s new interior minister has called the country’s first female president, Kersti Kaljulaid, an “emotionally heated woman” for walking out during the swearing-in of a cabinet minister accused of domestic violence.

Mart Helme made the sexist remark at a news conference where he also accused domestic news outlets of applying a double standard in covering abuse allegations against a former minister from his far-right party.

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Women taking pill may be less likely to suffer ACL injury, study finds

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 13:01

Hormonal contraceptives potentially reduce risk of tear to anterior cruciate ligament

Women on the combined pill appear to be less likely to tear a key ligament in their knee, research suggests.

Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee are common, particularly in people taking part in sport, where such injuries sometimes end careers.

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The California jail where women say guards and medics preyed on them

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 21:00

Former inmates at a Los Angeles county prison allege a range of sexual abuses by employees – from overt assault to subtle misconduct – made easy by the toxic power dynamics

In 2011, Michele Infante was incarcerated for close to six months at the Century regional detention facility in Lynwood, California, a small city adjacent to Compton and Watts. The facility is Los Angeles county’s only jail designated for women and sprawls across an industrial zone in the shadow of the Imperial Highway.

Infante, now 58, says she was sexually assaulted and sexually abused by two different employees at Lynwood, as the jail is known locally.

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Why being pregnant while black can seriously damage your health | Miriam Zoila Pérez

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 20:00

In the US, women of color face more risks in pregnancy and childbirth than white women, and the reason for the disparity has become clear: racism

When Jessica Roach’s second daughter was born premature, at just 34 weeks and five days, Roach found herself living a statistic that she knew intimately. What began as dizzy spells, nausea and food aversion became a condition that called for bed rest; her cervix, it turned out, was dilating too early. An African American woman living in Columbus, Ohio, Roach experienced a pregnancy rife with health challenges, despite having a job as a nurse at Ohio State University and access to medical care just floors from where she worked.

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Cambridge University criticised for hosting anti-feminist group

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 19:00

Justice for Men and Boys event goes against institution’s values, say staff and students

The University of Cambridge has been criticised for hosting a self-proclaimed anti-feminist group that staff claim have harassed female academics and make people feel unsafe on campus.

A letter, written by more than 300 of the university staff, students and alumni, calls for an event featuring the political party Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB) to be cancelled.

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Twitter and Facebook told they must do more to protect female MPs

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 11:43

Parliamentary committee grills company representatives over violent and misogynistic abuse

Twitter and Facebook have been accused by a parliamentary committee of failing to do enough to protect female MPs and other public figures from violent or misogynistic abuse.

Representatives of the two social media giants appeared before the joint human rights committee on Wednesday, where one member – Joanna Cherry, an SNP MP – showed examples of the type of abuse that female MPs faced.

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Tarana Burke and Tracey Spicer win Sydney Peace prize for #MeToo work

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 08:00

Award honours the movement that has changed the way society understands and talks about sexual violence

Tracey Spicer, the joint winner of the 2019 Sydney Peace prize, is calling for an incoming federal government to overhaul Australian defamation laws to ensure sexual harassment survivors are not condemned to silence.

Tarana Burke, the US-based founder of the #MeToo movement, has been awarded the annual prize alongside Spicer, who helped spearhead award-winning investigations into sexual harassment in media workplaces in Australia.

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NHS maternity services in special measures at two Welsh hospitals

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:02

Move follows uncovering of failings that may have put lives of women and babies at risk

Maternity services at two NHS hospitals in south Wales have been put into special measures after a report found a series of failings that may have put the lives of women and babies at risk.

An investigation into maternity units at Cwm Taf University health board raised “significant concerns” around staffing, processes and culture that it said compromised care.

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WLTM other lonely mothers – could a friendship app transform the lives of single parents?

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 00:00

Single parents say they face a particular kind of isolation – especially when the world of parenting apps is dominated by ‘nuclear families’. One single mother has set out to change that

I became pregnant at 21. It wasn’t planned. I was weeks away from my dissertation deadline, in the final months of a fashion journalism degree at the London College of Fashion. I was going through the fallout of a painful breakup (we are great friends now), and I searched for healing in all types of ways, including the brief fling that led to my pregnancy.

I want to say my decision to have my daughter was firm from the beginning, but that would be a lie. It took me a few days to realise that being a mother was something I wanted, and just because it wasn’t how I imagined – meet “perfect” man, marry said man, procreate on a predetermined schedule – it didn’t mean it wouldn’t still be fine.

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Hobbyhorsing: what girls everywhere can learn from the Finnish craze

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 20:00

Riding an imaginary horse is a galloping success with young girls in the Scandinavian country – and the trend is taking off elsewhere

Perhaps one of the more surprising articles to be widely circulated this month has been a New York Times feature on the girls of Finland and their fondness for hobbyhorsing.

Hobbyhorsing is not a metaphor, nor indeed the repurposing of some veterinarian-standard tranquiliser by the nightclubbing youth of today. It is, in fact, the act and art of riding a rudimentary toy horse – a toy that is, to put it bluntly, a stuffed fabric horse’s head attached to a stick.

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Why does female armpit hair provoke such outrage and disgust?

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 07:34

Hairy armpits are in fashion – but a Nike ad featuring a model with a small amount of visible hair attracted thousands of critical comments

Julia Roberts: America’s sweetheart, Hollywood royalty – and an early pioneer of armpit-hair acceptance. Her look at the 1999 premiere of Notting Hill, beaming in a red sequined Vivienne Tam dress, arm raised to reveal a dark tuft, was immediately celebrated as a subversive feminist bird-flip against female beauty standards. Except it wasn’t: 20 years later, she confessed that the look hadn’t been a statement at all, rather that she had forgotten to shave and miscalculated the sleeve length of the dress.

Armpit hair remains a bizarre sticking point for anti-feminists. A few days ago, Nike uploaded a picture on Instagram showing the model and musician Annahstasia Enuke with a small amount of underarm hair visible; in response, thousands of commenters expressed outrage and disgust. Just a day later, the deodorant brand Nuud responded to a backlash against its own online advert that had featured underarm hair. The cynic in me has no doubt that the engagement all the hate-clicks and outrage drum up on social media is the main driver for brands’ recent love affair with body hair (two years ago Adidas featured a model with hairy legs to much ire and press reaction). But it is also an important reminder of just how upset people become when women are not scraping and cutting off bits of themselves in order to be pleasing to the public’s eye. The amount of vitriol, anger and hate that can be garnered by something that does not affect anyone apart from the individual woman is incredible – even more so when you compare it with the non-reaction to men doing the exact same thing.

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I feel grief and relief that I’ve never had children. Other women must share this | Katherine Baldwin

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 23:00

We have a choice about motherhood but it’s not always clear-cut, and ambivalence can be a painful place

In the last month, there’s been a run of fertility-related news stories, from the pregnancy figures that confirmed the trend towards later motherhood, to the suggestion that IVF clinics are exploiting older women, to the huge emotional and financial cost of failed IVF. But among them, I don’t hear about experiences that chime with my own, or with those of some of the women I coach – the women who are or were ambivalent about having children.

Ambivalence, from the Latin, means to be pulled strongly in two directions. This aptly describes my relationship to motherhood. I spent my 20s and early 30s avoiding having a baby at all costs as I built my career as a foreign correspondent. Back in London and approaching 40, a combination of factors sparked baby angst. There was my ticking biological clock, burnout in my job and my father’s death, which exposed my aloneness and made me question why I’d prioritised work over family.

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Fourth-wave feminism can learn a thing or two from the 1980s play Top Girls | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 21:00

The play reminds us that any feminism worth its salt needs to transcend questions of individual identity

There has been a trend in fourth-wave feminism for exploring the stories of women overlooked by history; but almost 40 years before Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Top Girls did it, for grownups. Caryl Churchill’s 1982 play, now revived at the National Theatre by Lyndsey Turner, is perhaps best known for its opening scene – a Saturday night dinner party featuring Pope Joan, Lady Nijō, Dull Gret, Isabella Bird, Patient Griselda and a Thatcherite recruitment manager called Marlene. It’s a genius opener, a dreamlike sequence in which the women share their tales of suffering and patriarchy, poignantly but also hilariously, as they proceed to get more and more wasted on Frascati. It’s very, very funny. It sticks the knife in while you’re laughing, off-guard, and then twists it.

Related: Top Girls review – Churchill's study of bourgeois feminism gets an epic makeover

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