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Trump knows all he needs for evangelical votes is to crack down on women's rights | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 01/25/2020 - 04:00

Trump is the first president to speak at the March for Life anti-abortion rally – which could be taken as a sign of desperation

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Trump tells anti-abortion activists at March for Life: 'I am fighting for you'

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:03

President addresses annual anti-abortion rally in Washington – and many protesters seemed delighted by their star guest’s turn

Close to the US Capitol where his impeachment trial was being held, Donald Trump rallied anti-abortion activists on Friday with the message: “They are coming after me because I am fighting for you.”

Related: 'Take her out': tape appears to catch Trump demanding removal of Ukraine ambassador – live

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The rising tide of female gamblers need help. I know, I lost my home and job | Anonymous

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 02:26
Like most women, I’d never been to a bookies, but gambling through apps on my smartphone ravaged my life

A couple of clicks to bet on the football: a win. Little did I know that in such a short space of time those clicks would lead me to losing my home and my job. I started gambling during a period of intense loneliness in my life. I was in an abusive relationship and my self-esteem was at an all-time low.

My partner introduced me to online gambling in passing, sitting on the sofa one evening. It didn’t feel like a big deal, just something to do on your phone while the TV played in the background. I won the very first time I made a bet. It gave me an instant buzz – a feeling of gratification I think I had been missing in my life.

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Hillary Clinton is still trying to sell herself as a feminist icon. Don't buy it | Jessa Crispin

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 00:15

The real issue of ‘representation’ isn’t that there aren’t enough powerful women. It’s that what is represented as feminism is actually corporatism

I remember having an argument with the mother of a young girl during the 2016 election. She thought even a symbolic victory would be an important victory, because it was important for her daughter to have a woman president to look up to. “I want her to see a woman president,” she said, “to help her believe that she could become a president herself.”

Related: Hillary Clinton is done trying to be liked | Moira Donegan

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Young anti-abortion marchers look forward to 'post-Roe America'

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 13:35

Young people are generally more likely to support abortion rights but participants in the March for Life in Washington hope a new, conservative supreme court will overturn the Roe v Wade decision

Before a crowd of teenagers, their parents and teachers, the speakers described a woman’s right to an abortion as akin to the Holocaust, slavery, a human rights violation and “the worst scourge man has ever done to man”.

This is the March for Life’s youth rally, an event designed to gear kids up before America’s largest annual anti-abortion march, due to be held in Washington DC on Friday and attended by Donald Trump, who would be the first US president to speak at the event.

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Forget 'lewd behaviour' – is being naked around your own kids good for them?

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:05

Seeing a parent naked can help children learn what real bodies look like and better understand consent and boundaries

This week you may have heard about the Utah lewdness law, which a judge refused to overturn in a judgment against a woman who removed her top in her own home while applying drywall, and was seen by her stepchildren doing it.

This raises the question: is it really that bad for a child to see a woman’s naked breasts?

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Once in a full moon: night swimming in McIver’s ladies baths

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 06:30

From a sanctuary for nuns to a training ground for Olympians, Coogee’s women’s-only ocean pool is the stuff of legend. But what really happens there after dark?

A year ago, late on a summer evening in Sydney, I found myself peering – discreetly, I hoped – through a gap in the bushes at a small nature reserve in the city’s eastern suburbs, not far from Bondi Beach. My heart was racing because I thought I had just seen a leg, pale blue in the moonlight, advancing up a flight of stairs at the McIver’s ladies baths. Then, a rustling in the bushes: somebody was climbing up the hill, from the baths to the pathway on which I was stationed. I moved closer to the sound; the swimmer emerged. He was a man: bald, large, his grey T-shirt wet at the neck.

As the name suggests, the ladies baths is a space reserved exclusively for women and children. I had heard a rumour, as the Australian summer’s last late heatwave bloomed, that every full moon a group of older women headed to the baths at night to swim naked. I began visiting at full moon, needing – it was a form of madness, and a distraction from it – to know if it was true.

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Please, stop putting weird products like crocheted tampons in your vagina | Poppy Noor

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 09:40

Anything can be found on the internet – from fake hymens to whatever is coming out of Gwyneth Paltrow – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for your vagina

You can find anything on the internet, and these days, that includes crocheted tampons. Yes, tampons made of yarn are being sold on Etsy, and news outlets are having to run pieces advising on why vaginal chunky-knits really don’t need to be a look this winter.

Crocheted tampons, just like most things made and sold in an unregulated market such as the internet, do not have to pass the same safety regulations that store-bought tampons have to pass. That means that we don’t know whether they work, what’s in them, or even how they should be cleaned.

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Why a black couple on Love Island has caused a happy hysteria

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 06:53

British media is reluctant to feature one black person in a romantic relationship, let alone two. No wonder Leanne Amaning and Mike Boateng are trending

Black Twitter is all aflutter about Love Island’s Leanne Amaning and Mike Boateng, the show’s first black couple. The lovebirds have had the hashtag #BlackLove trending, their his’n’hers durag and wig cap combo have delighted viewers and many a meme of their imagined traditional Ghanaian wedding has been mocked up. All this and it has not even been a fortnight.

The hysteria over the budding romance perhaps looks excessive. But the #BlackLove hashtag long predates their dating and for good reason: it is something the media is not particularly invested in portraying, especially in the UK. This is why H&M’s campaign featuring the footballer Raheem Sterling, his black fiancee, Paige Milian, and their children was a welcome gift when it landed last Christmas. It has been more than 30 years since the black British sitcom Desmond’s first aired, and while the US continues to roll out family sitcoms such as Black-ish and its spin-offs, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, we aren’t much closer to our own “Black Brit-ish” equivalent. When attempting to portray diverse couples, the media is hesitant to feature one black person, let alone two; interracial romance being seen as able to depict aspiration in a way that a black couple – without a white participant – isn’t.

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‘I was living a secret life’: the agonising rise of female gamblers

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 05:11

The number of women who report a gambling problem has been rising at double the rate of men. It is used as an escape from stress and pain – but the debt can be catastrophic

Nancy gambled away the £3,000 her father had saved up for his own funeral. It’s the thing she feels most ashamed of having done during her four-year addiction to online gambling. At the time, however, she barely thought twice about what she had done.

“Female gambling addicts are just as bad as men. We will get money wherever we can and gamble it all away immediately,” she says. “The extraordinary thing is that during my addiction, no one suspected a thing. I was gambling online for hours every day. I’d sit down on the settee with my phone in the early evening and the next thing I knew, it was 3am. I hadn’t moved except to press the same button again and again to work the slots. But my bank account would be empty.”

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Why six-packs are an oppressive status symbol for women

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 06:54

Phoebe Waller-Bridge said the washboard stomach she sported at the SAG awards was painted on by a makeup artist. Are these visible contours the height of body fascism?

The only time I have ever seen abdominal muscles that had actually been painted on by a makeup artist was on a man dressed as a pirate at a fancy-dress wedding. Fair enough; you would struggle to survive on the open seas without being buff. But this ab trend is generally more of a woman-thing, and finds its purest expression in Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as so many woman-things do: she appeared at the Screen Actors Guild awards in midriff-centric attire by Armani Prive, looking as if she could have lifted a Robin Reliant simply by engaging her core. Her abs, though, were really all down to a shading effect, for which she thanked her makeup artist.

Visible contours have become a must-have status symbol for women, thanks not so much to the stomach crunching of pioneers, as the obsessive media watch: household names – Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez – are boosted by their washboard tums, and there are definitely people, Bella Hadid, for one, whose myology I feel I know better than their professional output (although since Hadid is a model, you could say there was an overlap). I put it to you, patriarchy, that the six-pack is the ultimate policing of the female form, the point at which the requirement of ever-greater thinness – a basic and timeless tool of oppression – meets the demand for constant self-improvement and maximisation. In a contortion typical of late capitalism, the effort has become more important than the appearance, so you probably wouldn’t even make it as a beach body now if your stomach were merely flat. The message is very much on brand for perhaps even the apotheosis of body-fascism; there is no such thing as difference and variety, there is only trying and not trying, success and failure.

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Deadly silence: what happens when we don't believe women

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 23:15

Not listening to women’s experience of abusive men – and of other areas from health to the economy – harms all of society

It’s become a grim ritual among the women I know: as soon as there is news of another mass shooting, we wait to hear the inevitable story about the shooter’s history of hurting women. (The shooter is always a man.) Sometimes he’s been violent to his mother or grandmother. More often, police reports reveal his history of abusing his girlfriend or wife.

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The female body and the origins of patriarchy | Letter

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 07:31
Many prehistoric societies were egalitarian, writes Hilary Knight, and women were honoured as the creators of new life

“Women have been conditioned to think their bodies are ‘dirty’ or abnormal since the beginning of time,” writes Arwa Mahdawi (theguardian.com, 18 January). Untrue. Human society (at least, most human societies) began to degenerate into patriarchy about 12,000 years ago, with the advent of agriculture and land ownership.

The previous hunter-gatherer societies were egalitarian; some were matrifocal and matriarchal. Women were honoured as the creators of new life, and the most important deities were female. The domineering and minatory male uber-god, memorably characterised by novelist Tom Robbins as “a neurotic prick”, is a johnny-come-lately.
Hilary Knight
Victoria, British Columbia

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Ignorance about menopause is destroying lives – and it’s not only women who suffer | Diane Danzebrink

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 01:01

Like many women, I struggled to get basic information and help for debilitating symptoms. Now we are campaigning for change

A few years ago I hadn’t given menopause a second thought. These days it’s pretty much all I think, talk and write about, but that was never the plan. In the summer of 2012, I had to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, including the removal of both of my ovaries, due to suspected ovarian cancer.

Two days after surgery I was back at home, my feet up as instructed, which was perfect timing for the London Olympics. There was no discussion before or after my surgery about all the possible implications of surgical menopause, the state I now found myself in. When leaving the hospital I was simply told to see my GP at some point to discuss hormone replacement, but concerns about it meant that I initially chose not to take it. That was a big mistake. But I had no idea at the time, because nobody had explained it to me.

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World's 22 richest men wealthier than all the women in Africa, study finds

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 23:42

Startling scale of inequality laid bare as Oxfam report highlights chronically undervalued nature of care work

The world’s 22 richest men have more combined wealth than all 325 million women in Africa, according to a study.

Women and girls across the globe contribute an estimated £8.28tn ($10.8tn) to the global economy with a total of 12.5bn hours a day of unpaid care work, a figure more than three times the worth of the global tech industry, claims an Oxfam report published on Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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Catcalls, cabs and classroom comments: how girls struggle to find a safe place in the UK today

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 21:48

Blackpool comes bottom of all UK local authorities for girls’ human rights and quality of life, according to research by Plan International

Blackpool is the hardest place to be a girl in the UK, according to new research which campaigners say should act as a wake-up call for the government. The north-western town comes bottom among all local authorities for key indicators of girls’ human rights and quality of life, a report by children’s charity Plan International UK found.

Local authorities in the bottom 10 were mainly in the north of England or Midlands, the charity found: Nottingham and Hartlepool are in the bottom three with Blackpool, considered England’s most deprived local authority. While three of the 10 highest-ranked local authorities (Orkney Islands, East Renfrewshire and Shetland) are in Scotland, the rest are in the south of England. “Right across the UK, there are challenges in being a girl,” said Plan CEO Rose Caldwell. “Even in top-performing areas, we would expect it to be much better than it currently is.”

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Gwyneth Paltrow has capitalized on vaginal shame and celebration | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 04:10

Why are vaginas suddenly everywhere? Partly because of the rise of ‘wellness’ – but also because they’re now a symbol of resistance

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'Believe women' is being cheapened to score political points. That will backfire | Jessa Crispin

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 01:20

It’s dirty politics – and using the phrase to land blows on a political opponent will end up hurting women

It’s a familiar scenario. An exchange occurs in private. Only the two figures involved – a man and a woman – know what truly transpired. But once they leave that room and start to tell their version of events, the man is given the benefit of the doubt and the woman faces intense scrutiny and skepticism.

Related: Warren and Sanders appear to move on following debate tensions – live

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Sexual harassment victims to take part in government survey

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 23:29

Minister reveals she was once harassed as she encourages people to share experiences

Ministers are to survey thousands of victims of sexual harassment to strengthen protections for workers.

Victims of sexual harassment are being urged to share their experience in what the Government Equalities Office has described as one of the largest surveys of its kind ever to be carried out.

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Long-Bailey says abortion limit should not be different for disability

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 03:55

Long-Bailey ‘unequivocally supports woman’s right to choose’ but believes disability and non-disability should be treated equally

Rebecca Long-Bailey has said she does not agree with allowing abortion on the grounds of disability after the standard limit of 24 weeks – but stressed that this was a personal view.

The Labour leadership candidate confirmed her position after comments emerged showing she argued last year against being able to abort on the grounds of disability later than if there is no disability.

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