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It is ‘all men’, to varying degrees: men’s violence against women is a systemic crisis | Brad Chilcott

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 07:30

As White Ribbon’s new executive director, I believe it’s worth mobilising the movement towards meaningful action

“Why?” has been the most consistent response when I’ve told my progressive friends that I’ve taken on the role of executive director of White Ribbon Australia for its next chapter. They didn’t miss the organisation that had first become publicly synonymous with ending family violence and then famous for problematic ambassadors and financial ruin. As a volunteer White Ribbon supporter myself, I agreed with much of the criticism – and yet I continue to believe it’s worth mobilising the tens of thousands of Australians who constitute the White Ribbon movement towards meaningful action.

Gender inequality is structural violence. It creates the space for acts of gendered violence by normalising disrespect as it socialises the idea that one gender is more valuable or capable than another.

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Fast fashion creates misery, and that's a bad look | Bidisha

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 04:12

Cheap, throwaway clothing was past its sell-by date even before the Leicester garment factory reports. Brands like Boohoo need to change their act – and so do consumers

During lockdown, everyone’s id has been allowed to float untethered. Obsessions, manias, strange desires and perverse fantasies have risen to the surface as the conventions of normal life melted into a free-floating miasma of Netflix and pasta bakes.

Judging by the spike in sales of fast fashion, many people across the nation are buying outfits for an alternative fantasy life rather than their homebound realities. In their imagined Sliding Doors timeline they’re having brunch cocktails on a hotel balcony in Ibiza or dancing the night away in “the club”. And so they logged on to cheap clothing sites and bought a polyester playsuit, some bold separates and a nylon dress in a snappy print that will fall apart after three wears.

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Why I don't have a child: I watched my own mother struggle with parenthood

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 23:00

When there were too many kid-related errands, my mother would break down and cry, calling out to no one in particular: ‘When is it my turn?!’

Any time I try to make sense of my aversion to motherhood and my utter glee over having escaped it, my mind immediately turns to the “mother-daughter day” my mom took me out of school for in the spring of 1975, a year before she and my father split up.

Our midweek adventure came as a complete surprise to me, although I was happy for the day off from fourth grade, as any nine-year-old would be. It was going to be a special day for just us, my mother promised. We were headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, and to lunch at a fancy restaurant.

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Don't know if you want a baby? This is how I found my answer

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 23:00

Kerry Eustice didn’t know whether she wanted to be a mother, so she consulted people from all walks of life to find her answer

In September last year, a few months before I turned 37, I started a list. It’s called “Reasons I Don’t Want to Have a Baby”:

Goodbye to weekend lie-ins

Might ruin my relationship with my husband. What if it makes us fall out of love with each other?

Bringing a child into a world that is getting too hot, too angry and too divided

Goodbye money: even with health insurance, it can cost $30k to give birth in the US, and that’s if there are no complications. And then, there’s childcare costs

Our families live in a different country

No more impromptu cocktails, yoga, solo trips to the movies or lazy Sundays

When I hear a toddler screeching on the street, I flinch

Fear of parent and baby groups.

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Being childfree: five women on why they chose not to have kids – video

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 21:41

As part of the Guardian's Childfree series, five women discuss why having children isn't for them – and how others perceive them as a result. 'There's no wrong way to be a woman,' says Sabrina, 25

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Trans rights have been pitted against feminism but we're not enemies | Kim Humphery

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 16:24

One of the most distressing aspects of the hostile narrative is that it sidelines a reality of alliance

As a trans woman working in academia, one of the questions I regularly get asked is how I get along with feminist colleagues. When I invariably answer “incredibly well”, I’m often met with a quizzical look.

I can understand why. As trans and gender diversity has become a regular topic of public debate and a favoured target of rightwing attacks, feminist critics have joined the fray.

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A journey to mindful sex: how a new app is helping women find sexual wellbeing

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 02:04

Ferly uses cognitive behavioural therapy and other techniques to help its users overcome sexual difficulties or to become more aware of their bodies and discover what works for them

When entrepreneurs Billie Quinlan and Anna Hushlak were developing their mindful sex app, Ferly, male investors said the idea was not worth funding: they claimed that women were a “niche market” and recommended the pair focus on porn to get ahead.

“We were told that as two women talking about sex, we’re never going to be taken seriously,” says Quinlan.

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More women like me are choosing to be childfree. Is this the age of opting out?

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 00:00

Ecological collapse is within sight – and yet parenting is still viewed as a moral imperative. But countless women like me are building a new normal: a life without children

Imagine a world in which, one day, you learned you’d eventually be expected to give birth to, then raise, an ostrich. It would be a long-lived ostrich, one residing with you inside your home for at least 18 years. 

This large, growing bird would require a great deal of care – daily, exhausting, heroic care, for which you wouldn’t be paid, nor, in general, well supported. In fact, you’d probably have to take time off from work; if you’re a woman, your ability to earn a post-ostrich livelihood would most likely be curtailed, perhaps severely. Plus, there would be the expense of ostrich daycare, ostrich violin lessons; in the future, god help you, ostrich college. Did you catch the part where you’re physically birthing the ostrich? It would tear open your body as it emerged from either between your legs or a gash sliced across your stomach, this larger-than-usual, speckled ostrich egg.

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Isn't that selfish? Introducing our new series on childfree women

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 23:00

Guardian editors Summer Sewell and Jessica Reed don’t have kids – and probably don’t want them. With the US birth rate at a 35-year low, they figured out their own stances over drinks – this is a transcript from that night at the bar

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The Guardian view on the pandemic's impact on women: sound the alarm | Editorial

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 07:30

To prevent inequality from increasing, we need a recovery plan with care at its heart

It is several months since the public was alerted to stark differences in the level of threat posed by Covid-19 according to their age, sex and underlying health. As the pandemic progressed, it became clearer that people of colour and those on lower incomes faced a heightened risk. Men in the UK have died from Covid-19 at almost twice the rate of women, with the most pronounced difference in older age groups. Among the working population, male security guards and taxi drivers have had the highest death rates.

The economic and social effects of the pandemic follow a different pattern. The lockdown meant thousands of women and children were trapped in homes where they were vulnerable to abuse, while women were more likely to lose their jobs as well as carrying a disproportionate share of the domestic burden created by the closure of schools and nurseries. They are also overrepresented in the caring jobs where pressure has been most intense: 82% of adult social care jobs are held by women, as are 89% of nursing and health visitor posts.

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Labour mayors back plan to make police record misogyny as hate crime

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 05:43

Stella Creasy believes amendment to domestic abuse bill would make police take misogyny more seriously

Labour’s metro mayors have united behind a parliamentary proposal from Stella Creasy to force the police to start recording misogyny as a hate crime.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool city region, and Dan Jarvis, the mayor of the Sheffield city region, are backing an amendment to the domestic abuse bill tabled by the Labour backbencher Creasy, which she believes will lead to police forces taking domestic abuse more seriously.

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The death of the bra: will the great lingerie liberation of lockdown last?

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 03:00

Working from home has been a chance to do away with uncomfortable, unnecessary underwear. And many women have no intention of returning to underwires and constriction

It was after a shopping trip, the first time for weeks that Louise Kilburn had ventured out during the lockdown, that she realised she wasn’t wearing a bra. “I’d completely forgotten to put it on,” she says. Kilburn, a university lecturer, had been shielding since the last week of March. She was still busy teaching online, although not usually by video, and had created a more comfortable work wardrobe of pyjamas, loungewear “and, more importantly, no bra”. Her bras were somewhere, she says, with a laugh, under a pile of pre-lockdown clothes – lost enough that she had to buy some bralettes, a more unstructured style, to try out. She had, she says, “mislaid my boob cages”.

Lockdown has changed a lot of things about the way we present ourselves to the world, and for many women, ditching their bra has been a particularly popular one. “I just don’t see bras making a comeback after this,” tweeted the Buzzfeed writer Tomi Obaro in May. Her tweet has been “liked” more than half a million times. The feminist satire website Reductress ran a headline last week reading: “Bra furlough extended.”

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Gloria Steinem: ‘Go too far, or you’re not going far enough’

Sat, 07/04/2020 - 03:00

The feminist activist, 86, on worldwide sisterhood, Spaceship Earth, sexual harrassment in the 1970s and being bitten by rats

My parents were kind and funny and taught me that kindness and a sense of humour are invaluable. Much later, I learned that in the oldest cultures laughter is the only free emotion. Obviously, fear can be compelled. So can love, if we’re dependent for long enough, we enmesh even with a captor in order to survive. But you can’t compel laughter. It’s a flash of recognition. Never go anywhere you’re not allowed to laugh, including church.

I became a grown-up too early, from 10 to 17, a small person responsible for a big person. My mother was ill and often couldn’t look after herself. I never knew what I would find when I got home. Since then I’ve had friends who were the children of alcoholics, and I’ve learned we share some of the same feelings.

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