Category - Gender Issues

Amnesty International approves policy supporting decriminalization of sex trade

AP, August 12

London – Amnesty International approved a controversial policy Tuesday to endorse the de-criminalization of the sex trade, rejecting complaints from some women’s rights groups who say it is tantamount to advocating the legalization of pimping and brothel owning.

At its decision-making forum in Dublin, the human rights watchdog approved the resolution to recommend “full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.” It argues its research suggests decriminalization is the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights.

“We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world.”

You don’t have to give thanks.

I believe in being grateful for the universe. It is one of the few entities with a shelf life beyond that of what can be bought, sold, or stolen. Moreover, our obscene privilege as Westerners is lethally obvious. But to hell with the manufactured gratitude of Thanksgiving™, wherein kindly advertising voice-overs urge us to count our table of blessings (and hopefully shop for some more). This excerpt from a missive by Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti rightly gives that sales pitch the finger:

Face it: Thanksgiving is depressing this year, and you don’t have to give thanks

We shouldn’t ask grieving people to plaster on a smile to make the rest of us feel better. Even if it’s the holidays.

This Thanksgiving, it’s difficult not to think about loss.

For a lot of people, this time of year brings more sadness than cheer – thinking about the kinds of relationships you wish you could have with family or friend, thinking about loved ones that aren’t there. And as injustice prevails in Ferguson, as another young man of color is killed with seeming impunity, as sexual predators are given standing ovations and sexual violence across the US continues to be unearthed, it’s hard to remember how to be thankful. It’s easier to ask what we are supposed to be thankful for at all.

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Fracking Chemicals, Brought to You by Susan G. Komen

Mother Jones, By Julia Lurie, October 9

Here’s some news that frankly, I initially thought was a spoof: for the second year in a row, breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure—which caused massive outrage when it defunded Planned Parenthood in 2012—has partnered with Baker Hughes, a leader in the fracking industry. The Houston-based oilfield services company will donate $100,000 to Komen over the year and sell 1,000 pink-painted drill bits used for fracking.

According to Baker Hughes’ “Doing Our Bit for the Cure” campaign website, “The pink bits serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease, which claims a life every 60 seconds.”

The irony here is that one of the primary criticisms of fracking is that the fracking process injects possible and known carcinogens, including benzene, formaldehyde, and sulfuric acid, into the ground and surrounding environment. A 2011 senate investigation of 14 leading fracking companies found that, between 2005 and 2009—far from the height of the fracking era—the companies had “injected 10.2 million gallons of fracturing products containing at least one carcinogen.”

Also, Hullabaloo: Little pink bits

Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer-Winning Poet, Dies at 89

NYT – Carolyn Kizer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose verse, overtly political and bitingly satirical, came, as she fondly put it, with “a sting in the tail,” died on Thursday in Sonoma, Calif. She was 89. The cause was complications of dementia.Ms. Kizer’s first collection, “The Ungrateful Garden,” published in 1961, left little doubt that to her, the poetical was the political. In a poem from the volume, “The Death of a Public Servant,” about McCarthyism, she wrote:

This is a day when good men die from windows,
Leap from a sill of one of the world’s eyes
Into the blind and deaf-and-dumb of time …
Dead friends, who were the servants of this world!
Once there was a place for gentle heroes.
Now they are madmen who, scuttling down corridors,
Eluding guards, climb lavatory walls
And squeeze through air-vents to their liberation.

more at the link

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman

Vox, By Amanda Taub, September 23

In her famous 1996 commencement address, writer Nora Ephron warned the new graduates of Wellesley college that they were entering a world that was hostile to women’s achievements and begged them to “take it personally.”

“Understand,” she said, “every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you.” We must all take such attacks personally, she argued: “Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: Get back, get back to where you once belonged.”
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By Your Leave

I meant to blog about this when the baseball season opened in April but it slipped my mind. Thankfully I have a second chance to:

CHICAGO — New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy and his family will be guests at the White House on Monday for a discussion about the state of working dads.

Murphy received talk-radio backlash after choosing to take paternity leave and miss the team’s first two games of the season to be present for the birth of his first child on March 31. Murphy’s wife Tori gave birth to 8-pound, 2-ounce son Noah about an hour before the first pitch of the Mets’ season.

The White House Summit on Working Families will be held in the South Court Auditorium of the White House. It aims to advance talk about how fathers play a role at home, discuss the challenges of balancing a career and family, and advocate for rights such as parental leave from work.

Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman will participate in the discussion along with Murphy.

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Your Basic Quagmire

The more I think about the Chelsea (fka Bradley) Manning situation, the shape it takes gets more and more bizarre:

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — The Pentagon is considering transferring Ptv.[sic] Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison where the soldier serving time for leaking classified documents could receive medical treatment for gender dysphoria, Defense officials said Wednesday.

That option is among several Army leaders are weighing as they wrestle with a dilemma that is likely to set precedent on a fraught issue for the Pentagon, which has come under increasing pressure to reexamine its prohibition on allowing transgender people to serve in uniform.

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Should women fight violence with violence?

Evangeline-title1920x1080Canadian film director, writer, and producer Karen Lam whose chosen genre is horror with a feminist twist, posed this provocative question.

Lam’s choice and musings were influenced by her father’s penchant for twisted storytelling and the real-life violence committed against women. What particularly stood out for Lam were the cruel murders of 49 women by BC pig farmer Robert Pickton who fed their bodies to his pigs and friends and the Highway of Tears murders that, according to aboriginal leaders, has claimed the lives of 43 women – these murders remain, as of yet, unsolved.

Incidentally, last Wednesday, the Guardian disclosed that a recent report revealed ‘extensive violence against women in EU’ with Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, three countries that strongly support women’s rights, exhibiting the highest numbers. Shocking, isn’t it? Read More