I’m back in the country and have been looking at the interesting stories I’ve collected for linkspam while I was away and since I’ve been back. There is surprisingly a lot more than I expected, clearly the downtime during my holiday was spent reading great material.
Ruby Hamad wrote at Daily Life, “Charged for screaming at childbirth“:
Zimbabwe, with a GDP of $US500 per person and an average yearly income of $US150, is one of the world’s poorest countries. Not coincidentally, it is also one of the most corrupt. In a worldwide report on corruption by Transparency International (TI) 62 percent of Zimbabwean respondents said they had paid a bribe in the past year.
Also not coincidentally, women bear more than their fair share of this poverty and corruption, one of the most shocking of which was a local hospital that was found to be charging women $5 for every scream they emitted during childbirth.
The fee, ostensibly for “raising false alarm” was in reality, as The Washington Post put it, “clearly aimed at separating women from their money.”
It doesn’t end there. This fee, essentially robbing women of their right to holler their heads off in the throes of unimaginable pain, is in addition to Zimbabwe’s mandatory $50 delivery fee.
Ben Richmond at Motherboard Beta wrote, “Inside the CIA’s Role in Pakistan’s Polio Outbreak“:
Pakistan is the only country in Asia with confirmed Wild Polio Virus type 3, and along with neighboring Afghanistan and Nigeria is one of three countries where polio is still endemic. The country has been working to eradicate polio since 1988, and making progress. Then, in 2012, the efforts hit a major roadblock.
A local warlord banned vaccinations after Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi was linked to the CIA operation to find Osama bin Laden. Under the guise of giving out a Hepatitis B vaccination, the doctor collected DNA samples from children, looking for bin Laden’s family members.
A link was established between the CIA and vaccinations and starting on June 16, 2012, tribal leaders banned the vaccination campaign. The Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur said vaccinations would be banned until the CIA stopped its drone campaign in North Waziristan, according to UPI.
EEB Guest posts at Almost Diamonds, “I Am a False Rape Allegation Statistic” *trigger warning for rape, violence, harassment*
So understand: I am a “false rape allegation” statistic. When they wrote their reports, sent the numbers off to the justice department to compile the information, I am down as a liar, a false allegation, even though no charges were ever filed against me. (Don’t know if that’s because they didn’t think they could make a case against me, or because they didn’t want to put a cop’s daughter on trial.) And you know what? I am not the only person. It is horrifying, the number of women that I have met in support groups and activist meetups who experienced very similar things. They too, are false allegation statistics. We were all raped.
forgedimagination at Defeating the Dragons wrote, “modesty rules and transphobia” *trigger warning transphobia*:
Most of that revolved around wearing skirts and culottes. We weren’t allowed to wear anything that even approached something that looked like pants. At one point, I heard a pastor preach against wearing skirts with a jeans-type zipper and button fastener in the front. Because those look like mens’ pants, and that’s not feminine. I also heard messages preached against business suits, blazers, and button-up shirts. If we were going to wear button-up shirts, they could not be made out of cotton, could not be Oxford style, and we had to make sure that they buttoned “correctly.”
Tied up in all of this was horrible, rampant transphobia– in the extreme. Cross-dressing? Abomination. Drag? Straight for the pits of hell. Long hair on a man? A horrible shame and a curse upon him. I can’t tell you how many stories I heard growing up where some preacher was in line somewhere, standing behind a man with long hair, and being “horrified and appalled” when they realized that who they had assumed to be a woman was actually a man. The first time I ever heard about the sorts of procedures and treatments trans* people need, like hormone replacement therapy (part of the standard course of treatment for gender dysphoria), I was in a revival service, and the evangelist was railing against “those disgusting hermaphrodites.”
JOS posted at Feministing, “The shameful, unacceptable media coverage of Chelsea Manning’s transition” *trigger warning for transphobia*:
I do understand the impetus to mention Manning’s old name at least once so the audience knows what’s being reported on. Personally, I think it’s unnecessary – “Pfc. Manning” should be enough to clue in your audience. Of course, I’m more comfortable with just using Manning or Pfc. Manning because that’s how I’ve been referring to her since 2011. Part of what has annoyed me about the news coverage over the past day is that this is not new information. Chelsea came out publicly, telling us her name and how we should refer to her, which should be more than enough to correct reporters. But she had already been outed through the process of the trial. She’d already said privately she was female, information that then became public. Yet even her supporters continued to default to her given name and masculine pronouns. When I see or hear someone communicate that their gender is different from the one assigned to them at birth, I listen, and I respect that. Most people in this world default to the gender that is coercively assigned to someone at birth. I happen to believe that people know their own genders way better than any outside “expert,” be they a doctor, lawyer, judge, or journalist. And I know how hard it is to go against the gender assigned to you in this transphobic context. It can be particularly hard for women assigned male at birth – the costs of living your actual gender are higher, because patriarchy. When I first read Manning’s words about her gender identity during the process of the trial, I believed her. And I stopped defaulting to her assigned name and masculine pronouns, because I always put self-identification over an identity that’s been coercively assigned to someone. So I didn’t take the announcement yesterday as groundbreaking news – I saw it as Chelsea making clear and public the name and pronouns she wants to use. Which is part of why I’m so disgusted – this announcement is being treated as major news instead of a clarification of how to report on Chelsea.
Dances with fat posted, “To the Guys Who Threw Eggs at Me Tonight” *trigger warning for fatphobia*:
To recap – two adult males threw the eggs and carton at me for daring to exist outside my house in a fat body. Of course they are utter cowards who sped away immediately, leaving me with so many questions:
- First of all, how did you come to have 2 eggs and an egg carton in your car? Did you throw the first ten at other fatties, or are you now dealing with 10 eggs and no carton in your car?
- Were these fatty-specific eggs that you had planned to throw, or are you guys eating cereal for breakfast until somebody can get to the store?
- How do you miss a 300 pound woman who is three feet away from you? I mean, I’m happy that I didn’t have to walk 5 miles covered in egg, but let’s work on that follow through son, you never know when a softball game might break out.
- Finally, what the hell kind of person throws eggs at strangers from their car?
It also set up a second interaction around mile seven wherein someone yelled “YO FAT BITCH!” and I yelled back “DO YOU HAVE EGGS?” The looks on their faces were priceless as they asked “What?” and I said “The last people who harassed me today threw eggs, if you don’t have eggs then you’re behind the fat bashing curve tonight.” The guy who had yelled in the first place ducked his head and said “Wow, that’s crazy. I’m sorry ma’am.”
Leena Van Deventer writes at her new blog by the same name, “The keepers of the gates.“:
I was enjoying a nice cup of tea while reading a blog post about writing (procrastinating about the writing I was supposed to be doing). And then I LOL’d, but then I serious’d.
I sniffed the air, it smelled familiar. Sour.
It contained a quiz you could take to find out whether you were a
real gamerprofessional writer or not. If you didn’t answer the “do you spend every spare moment writing” questions entirely connecting “sacrifice for your art” with “being professional” (ew) then you were relegated to the pitied-upon class of “hobbyist”. I know right? Apparently that’s a word used by people who aren’t accountants. Who knew! It was said that if you had a clean (nice) house, went out with friends, watched television, dared engage in small talk instead of big talk, or liked hearing nice things about your work, that you were not a professional writer. Now, many others have pointedouthow fucked up this is, so I won’t go into picking at each point and its dumbassery, they’ve covered it supremely well. But what struck me was how it was note for note the same bullshit that tries to keep people out of collectives everywhere.
Sarah Kendzior writes at Al Jazeera, “Mothers are not ‘opting out’ – they are out of options“:
On August 7, the New York Times ran an article called “The Opt Out Generation Wants Back In” – a follow-up to a 2003 story about highly accomplished, well-educated American women who left the workforce to stay at home with their children. Ten years later, the mothers are seeking work that befits their abilities but most are unable to find it, causing them to question their original decision.
The New York Times piece frames the mothers’ misgivings as a result of questionable planning and poor marriage partners, paying mere lip service to the tremendous change in the economy over the past ten years. Whether to work or stay at home is presented as an option that has to do with personal fulfillment and childrearing preferences, divorced from fiscal limitations.
But for nearly all women, from upper middle-class to poor, the “choice” of whether to work is not a choice, but an economic bargain struck out of fear and necessity. Since 2008, the costs of childbirth, childcare, health care, and education have soared, while wages have stagnated and full-time jobs have been supplanted by part-time, benefit-free contingency labour.
The media present a woman’s fear of losing her career as the fear of losing herself. But the greatest fear of most mothers is not being able to provide for their children. Mothers with high-paying jobs go back to work to earn money for their kids. Married mothers with low-paying jobs quit to save money for their kids. Single mothers struggle to find work that pays enough to support their kids. Self-fulfillment is a low priority in an economy fuelled by worker insecurity.
The assumed divide between mothers who work inside and outside the home is presented as a war of priorities. But in an economy of high debt and sinking wages, nearly all mothers live on the edge. Choices made out of fear are not really choices. The illusion of choice is a way to blame mothers for an economic system rigged against them. There are no “mommy wars“, only money wars – and almost everyone is losing.
NK Jemisin posted the other blog post she would have posted had Theodore Beale not been expelled from SFWA’s membership, “The Ten Percent“.
Katy Waldman at Slate writes, “Haters Are Gonna Hate, Study Confirms“:
After marking the dependably hateful haters with a scarlet H, the researchers presented participants with information about a new product: the “Monahan LPI-800 Compact 2/3-Cubic-Foot 700-Watt Microwave Oven.” This elaborately titled microwave oven does not exist (except in Jack Donaghy’s mind), but participants didn’t know this and were given three glowing fake reviews and three dissatisfied fake reviews. While people who more or less liked taxidermy and crossword puzzles also liked the oven, the haters drenched their fake consumer surveys in haterade. They were also more likely to hate on recycling and vaccine shots. (To be fair, it’s hard to be a ray of sunshine when you’ve got the measles.)
Nafeez Ahmed at The Guardian writes, “Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks“:
It is therefore not surprising that the increasing privatisation of intelligence has coincided with the proliferation of domestic surveillance operations against political activists, particularly those linked to environmental and social justice protest groups.
Department of Homeland Security documents released in April prove a “systematic effort” by the agency “to surveil and disrupt peaceful demonstrations” linked to Occupy Wall Street, according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).
Similarly, FBI documents confirmed “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector” designed to produce intelligence on behalf of “the corporate security community.” A PCJF spokesperson remarked that the documents show “federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
In particular, domestic surveillance has systematically targeted peaceful environment activists including anti-fracking activists across the US, such as the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, Rising Tide North America, the People’s Oil & Gas Collaborative, and Greenpeace. Similar trends are at play in the UK, where the case of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy revealed the extent of the state’s involvement in monitoring the environmental direct action movement.
Celeste Liddle writes at The Guardian, “Broome bombing: where is the outrage?“:
What I do wish to know, however, is where is the media and Australian community outrage over this event? Where is the coast-to-coast coverage? If I was not hooked into social media, where a number of Indigenous community members were talking about it, I probably would have missed the story due to the lack of coverage. It is telling that the Chinese national press agency Xinhua covered it, yet most of the Australian sources failed to mention it. Last year, when I was told at work that the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union had been the target of a bomb threat, I was able to read about it in a variety of sources. That one turned out to be a hoax; this attack actually injured four people.
Had this been an attack on an Australian city, or on a group of non-Indigenous people, would it have been deemed an event of public importance? As Aboriginal feminist and activist The Koori Woman so eloquently writes: “(I’m) Idly wondering what would happen if I went and casually lobbed an explosive down the whitest street in the village”.
Rafi Alam, “Smashing the fash: fascism in Australia“:
We’re told to never forget, because there is a danger in allowing the past to repeat itself. Fascism wasn’t an anomaly of world history, but is rooted in something visceral within society. It has an economic and political vision that strives to protect the legitimate members of society from the ebbs and flows of global finance and immigration; it seeks to create hope in the less fortunate by blaming society’s ills on the least fortunate. It thrives on crisis and decline, and mobilises movements by encouraging the masses to rise up against decay and attain power for the rightful heirs of the state, usually white ‘natives’.
Magda Szubanski writes at The Hoopla, “Magda’s Catholic Family Values“:
The way Tony Abbott purports to represent family values. In particular, Catholic family values. I am so weary of this face of Catholicism – this mean-spirited, uncharitable, hard-man version.
But in a bigger sense I am so heartbroken by the way the millions of moderate, social justice-minded Catholics – the ones who do the real, actual work the Church is supposed to do… like caring for people, being compassionate, looking after the weak and the less fortunate – have been ignored, disenfranchised.
Pushed aside by the power elite.
There have always been two Catholic churches – those who try to practice the basic message of Jesus , “love thy neighbour as thyself” – and those who are there for other reasons. The “Career Catholics” as I like to call them.
1DeadlyNation writes, “Abbott, the Truth and Cost of his Indigenous Volunteering“:
In August of 2012 Tony Abbott did indeed go to Cape York, but it wasn’t for a week or two as Mr Pyne suggests. It was for 2 days! It was a working bee of sorts and some of Australia’s business leaders were taken along to volunteer as well. Photos of Abbott with tools in hand were taken and the myth of Abbott the saviour of the Black man had a wonderful photo op. No problem so far until you examine the Expenditure on Entitlements paid by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to Mr Abbott for this trip of “Volunteering”. And what do we find on page 12? An amount of $9,636.36, tax payer dollars, to fund the hire of a private charter flight for the 2 days. I don’t know about you, but when I volunteer to hammer in a few nails for a day or two I don’t ask the people of Australia to cough up 10k. That isn’t volunteering, that is the most expensive labourer in the history of Australia. I wonder what the sandwiches cost….(http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/docs/P31/ABBOTT_Tony.pdf page 12.)
Matt Siegel at the New York Times writes, “News Corp.’s Tight Grip on Australia’s Papers Shapes Its Politics“:
They have been front and center in the current national election pitting Mr. Rudd and the Labor Party against the Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott. The papers have run a string of scathing front-page editorials since Mr. Rudd called for elections last month. The decision to portray Mr. Rudd on the front page of The Daily Telegraph as Colonel Klink from the 1965-71 television comedy “Hogan’s Heroes,” sporting a Nazi uniform and a monocle, raised eyebrows and led Mr. Rudd to publicly call out Mr. Murdoch over the coverage.
Mr. Murdoch has made it clear, Mr. Rudd told reporters last month, “that he doesn’t really like us, and would like to give us the old heave-ho,” adding that “I’m sure he sees it with crystal-clear clarity all the way from the United States.”
Although several Murdoch papers endorsed Mr. Rudd during his first successful run for the leadership in 2007, they quickly soured on his positions toward big business, like a proposed tax on mining profits and an emissions trading plan. The company was seen as instrumental in the media campaign that saw him ousted in a 2010 party coup amid record low approval ratings. Mr. Rudd returned to government in June after upheaval in the Labor Party.
One of the Labor government’s plans calls for a National Broadband Network that would deliver high-speed Internet access to wide swathes of the country, a service that would broadly compete with News Corporation’s subscription TV service, Foxtel, which remains the company’s most profitable Australian venture.
Janet Mock writes, “How Society Shames Men Dating Trans Women & How This Affects Our Lives“:
Guess what? Many men are attracted to women, and trans women are amongst these women.
We, as a society, have not created a space for men to openly express their desire to be with trans women. Instead, we shame men who have this desire, from the boyfriends, cheaters and “chasers” to the “trade,” clients, and pornography admirers. We tell men to keep their attraction to trans women secret, to limit it to the internet, frame it as a passing fetish or transaction. In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.
When a man can be shamed merely for interacting with a trans women – whether it be through a photograph, a sex tape or correspondences — what does this say about how society views trans women? More important, what does this do to trans women?
This pervasive ideology says that trans women are shameful, that trans women are not worthy of being seen and that trans women must remain a secret — invisible and disposable. If a man dares to be seen with a trans woman, he will likely lose social capital so he must adamantly deny, vehemently demean, trash and/or exterminate the woman in question. He must do this to maintain his standing in our patriarchal society. For a man to be associated with a trans women, in effect, is to say that he is no longer a “real” man (as if such a thing exists) because he sleeps with “fake” women (as if such a thing exists).
Aaron Day at Pink News writes, “Russia: Top lawyer comes out as bisexual and transgender against anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws“:
Masha Bast, the chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, has spoken out in mainstream Russian media to oppose the anti-gay law.
In an interview, she told the Moscow Times: “The law banning gay propaganda among minors is completely wrong.
“I remember being 10 and wanting to be a girl and putting on girl’s clothes. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.
“This was in the Soviet Union and there was no information to explain what was happening to me.
“So it isn’t a matter of upbringing. It’s nature. That’s why I think the law against “homosexual propaganda” is a law against children and one that targets certain social groups. It is a fascist law and nothing else.”
Ms Bast said she explained to her wife when they first started dating “I wasn’t the gender I appeared to be. I am female and have always wanted to be a girl.”
She said: “We talked about it for a long time, and it wasn’t an easy decision for her. I explained that I like men, but I am a bisexual woman.
Sophie Pilgrim at France 24, “Feminists want ‘great women’ buried in Pantheon“:
Around one hundred women and a dozen men gathered outside the Pantheon mausoleum in Paris on Monday to demonstrate in favour of interring more women in the prestigious sanctuary, which is home to the remains of the country’s most treasured national figures.
There are currently only two women to 71 men buried at the site: Marie Curie, whose scientific breakthroughs changed the face of modern medicine; and Sophie Berthelot, who was buried alongside her husband, the chemist and politician Marcellin Berthelot.
In March, French President François Hollande said he wanted to grant due recognition to female historical figures in French history and has hinted that more women should be buried at the Pantheon in order to “represent the principles of the country”.