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An artist and political activist has gone on trial in Iran for a cartoon criticising draft laws which would restrict access to birth control.

The image by Atena Farghadani depicted MPs casting votes on the proposed legislation as animals.

Ms Farghadani, 28, faces charges of spreading propaganda, insulting MPs, and insulting the supreme leader.

The laws would end decades of family planning in Iran, outlawing vasectomies and restricting contraception.

Ms Farghadani was first arrested in August 2014, when her home was raided by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and taken to Gharchak prison.

She was released in December but was rearrested again in January after posting a video online in which she alleged that she had been beaten by prison guards and interrogated for up to nine hours a day.

Three weeks after being rearrested, Ms Farghadani went on hunger strike to protest against conditions at the prison. She was taken to hospital in late February after suffering a heart attack and briefly losing consciousness.

She has since been held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison.

'Prisoner of conscience'

Raha Bahreini, an Iran researcher for Amnesty International, told the BBC: "We are very concerned that Atena has even been put on trial.

"She is a prisoner of conscience and she has been held solely because of her opinions and for exercising the right to free expression.

"From our point of view, she must be released immediately and unconditionally."

Ms Bahreini said that the trial might be as short as just one day. If convicted of all charges, Ms Farghadani could face up to two years' imprisonment and lashes.

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For one year, my publishing house will only release books written by women – here's why

And Other Stories was founded in 2010 to provide a space in which the great, daring literature we were reading from all over the world could be published – and read – in English translation. We’ve become known for our innovative approach to finding and funding great books that our readers love. But I think we have a problem at And Other Stories: even though most of us are women, most of our books are by male authors. Fascinating, experimental male authors, but still male.
24 October 2014 @ 01:40 pm
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Last year, my inbox starting filling up with Facebook notifications about GoldieBlox: My friends were posting links to the video that just came out and asking, "What do you think, T?"

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At the time, GoldieBlox toys were only available on the website, but now you can find them in retailers such as Chapters and Indigo here in Canada. This year, GoldieBlox will a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, it would seem, GoldieBlox is making its way in the world.

I first heard about GoldieBlox last year when the creator Debra Sterling was looking to crowd source her invention on Kickstarter. She is trying to create a toy that will address the fact that there aren't enough girls in engineering. Debra looked into why this might be, looking at genetic, cognitive and biological differences, and "finds" that girls have stronger verbal skills, and that they just don't want to build for the hell of it, they want to know why.

One GIGANTIC problem with her research is, she went into it assuming there are big differences between boys and girls. Deep seated, genetic, cognitive, and biological differences...

It also seems she is assuming that the reason little girls aren't interested in engineering rests within girls themselves and they just need some special "girl toys" that promote temporal spatial skills and an interest in building. And so, GoldieBlox was born. A toy with lots of pink and castles and a story, just for girls.

To "trick" them into wanting to build things, just like boys do.

This would all be fine I suppose if deep seated, genetic, cognitive, and biological differences actually existed and the differences between girls and boys weren't the result of the decades of gendering.

Gender is something that we do, not something we are. And, the way we do our gender depends on the structures around us that tell how we are supposed to act. This is where our attention should be.

Like when we see blatant ads in the media that openly tell girls that some things are just for boys, like engineering:
The ad starts with, "You are a school boy"
The ad starts with, "You are a school boy..."

There is actually very little evidence to suggest that the differences we see between boys and girls for things like toy preference and behaviours are real. When we look at the toy aisles, what do we see for girls? Dolls, babies, kitchen sets; primarily passive toys meant to promote motherly behaviour. And for boys? Lego, building sets, trucks and cars that zoom and move. Active things, fun things. Things that promote visual spatial abilities and promote active play. What do we see when we look at boys and girls (and men and women) in the media? Men and boys saving the world, and girls fighting with their best friends or helping their male counterparts save the world, rarely ending up the hero themselves.

And, who is to say that being the hero is a good thing? Why so much pressure on boys and men? I read a book recently, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (which is amazing!), where a young boy ponders the stories he reads, wondering why there is never a knight galloping to his rescue. It is up him to him to save the princess; how lucky is she...

And, back to Goldie Blox...

Another friend sent me a message on Facebook about GoldieBlox, asking my opinion about this toy. She felt it wasn't breaking down gender stereotypes and was actually contributing to it. I agreed and said:

"The woman who started this product was basing her toy on the idea that girls like to read, unlike boys (which is B.S.) and so why not incorporate engineering with stories and girly things they like already (which is also B.S.). What she is actually doing is re-entrenching the gender binary by saying there should be certain toys for boys and girls (which is how this problem started in the first place), thinking that this will encourage girls to be engineers. It is sending the message that girls need special "girl" versions of things: because they are not real people. This product addresses the symptoms while ironically contributing to the root cause. Does that make sense?"

How can a product that is created especially for girls break down stereotypes about girls? Why do girls need special version of things in pink or with more words or a better story. And, why we are still promoting the princess crap? The GoldieBlox promo t-shirts say, "More than just a princess", but here is one of the toys:
"In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie's friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Ruby and Goldie build something great together, teaching their friends that creativity and friendship are more important than any pageant."

"In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie's friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Ruby and Goldie build something great together, teaching their friends that creativity and friendship are more important than any pageant."

I don't see how a special book about princesses that encourages little girls to build will do anything to break down gender stereotypes and create more women in engineering 20 years from now. What I see is yet another specialized toy for little girls that assumes girls need some pink-princess-ified version to hold their interest.

Is this all our little girls are? Aren't girls people too?

So, while I appreciate the effort, it does not go deep enough.

GoldieBlox, we don't need to "disrupt the pink aisle", we need to kick it to the curb...

17 March 2014 @ 02:43 pm

This petition only has 36,000 signatures. It need 100,000 by March 21 for the US government to even look at it.
Please, we don't have much time. If you guys could sign it share with people you know, it would be greatly appreciated and could make a huge difference.

22 December 2013 @ 01:46 am
This is game-related but also feminist-related so I hope personal reviews are okay. I linked it to my blog for length and because I'm lazy and already had this copy-pasta'd. I finished my finals last week and, to my disappointment, completed Far Cry 3.

- I got this game for $5. Wish I got it for free.
- Ubisoft never disappoints when it comes to scenery, nature, and the animal animations and clippings.
- Gameplay mechanics are wonderful; very much like Assassin's Creed in FPS style. You've got the synchronizing in high places to map out locations, gain more ways to kill/stealth as you progress, do sidequests that don't have anything to do with the main mission, etc.


It's a long list of bad with a bit of profanity so prepare yourselves. If you found this helpful, please rate up on Steam so that it stays visible as it's the only honest review. Lots of Far Cry 3 stans so I'd been garnering quite a bit of hate but I expected it so any support is welcome.
A shout out to all the old-timers, who were here back when shit got really real at least once or twice a week. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a major contributing factor to the decline of this community was "calling out fatigue" and a lot of extreme nastiness.

Not exactly a problem here these days, but here's a post at Black Girl Dangerous that addresses how to deal with making mistakes in social justice communities and touches on a lot stuff that went down here several years ago.

Hopefully this will be helpful for people working on social justice issues irl; I'm not sure exactly how to apply this to an online community where there's less trust and people don't necessary know who is a committed ally who f***** up and who is a troll.

I started having conversations on this practice of “calling in” after attending Race Forward’s Facing Race Conference in Baltimore, MD in 2012. Facing Race was a gathering of thousands of people working on advancing racial justice. The space was full of energy, commitment, and a ride-or-die-and-put-it-all-on-the-line mentality for making sure we’ve got our bases covered in this fight against racism and dismantling white supremacy.

What happens when thousands of people who all “get it” come together and everyone knows something about “the work”? We lose all compassion for each other. All of it.


I’ll be the first person and the last person to say that anger is valid. Mistakes are mistakes; they deepen the wounds we carry. I know that for me when these mistakes are committed by people who I am in community with, it hurts even more. But these are people I care deeply about and want to see on the other side of the hurt, pain, and trauma: I am willing to offer compassion and patience as a way to build the road we are taking but have never seen before.


We have been configured to believe it’s normal to punish each other and ourselves without a way to reconcile hurt. We support this belief by shutting each other out, partly through justified anger and often because some parts of us believe that we can do this without people who fuck up.

But, holy shit! We fuck up. All of us. I’ve called out and been called out plenty of times. I have gotten on people ruthlessly for supporting and sustaining oppression and refusing to listen to me. People have gotten on me about speaking to oppressions that aren’t mine, being superficial about inclusion, and throwing in communities I’m not a part of as buzzwords. But when we shut each other out we make clubs of people who are right and clubs of people who are wrong as if we are not more complex than that, as if we are all-knowing, as if we are perfect. But in reality, we are just really scared. Scared that we will be next to make a mistake. So we resort to pushing people out to distract ourselves from the inevitability that we will cause someone hurt.

And it is seriously draining. It is seriously heartbreaking. How we are treating each other is preventing us from actually creating what we need for ourselves. We are destroying each other. We need to do better for each other.

We have to let go of treating each other like not knowing, making mistakes, and saying the wrong thing make it impossible for us to ever do the right things.

K-pop Miss A group members

I’m not fat -- by American standards. I am considered slightly chubby for an Asian in China. I'm 5’1” and about 100 pounds, give or take five pounds depending on whether it’s New York Fashion Week or final exams week at Columbia. Everyone assumes I’m naturally petite because of my Asian genetics, but the truth is, I count my calories like Ebenezer Scrooge counts his gold coins and run and do yoga like Lululemon is paying me. The moment I “let myself go,” the weight bounces back.

I try not to talk about it, though, because the moment I do, someone always says, “Shut up, you’re Asian. You have genetics on your side.”

That's the problem -- Asian girls are suffering from body image issues and eating disorders because they try to hold themselves up to the expectation that Asian girls are naturally slim. In fact, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Diane von Furstenberg said, “It is great to design for Chinese women, because they have great bodies. They are slim and have tiny waists, so it's nice.”

Elizabeth Harker recently wrote the most amazing piece about being a fat foreign girl in China, in which she discovered the difference between pang, which means fat in an almost affectionate way, and fei, which is the adjective my mother uses to describe fatty pork dishes. Asians are open to talking about weight -- they’ll force-feed you when they think you’re too thin and they’ll shame you when they think you’re too fat.

More insight...Collapse )

CW: Racism, Sexism / Misogyny, Objectification, Body Shaming / Cosmetic Surgery / ED

(Original post from Althouse)

I don't care about this kind of music and dance, and I've never paid any attention to this lady who — I see — went away and has come back, but I've been interested in the ins and outs of the discourse of feminism since before Ms. was a magazine. And I've been observing American racial politics at least since I was 10 years old, when Life magazine featured photographs like these. Everyone read Life, but not every 10 year old had, set out next to Life on the family coffee table, the latest issue of Playboy.

So indulge me while I take a look at the race trouble that's befallen Ms. Allen and inquire into soundness of her "I'm protesting the objectification of women" story. Here's the video that went up 2 days ago and has over 2 million views.

Full article behind the cutCollapse )


Additional articles:
Lily Allen's Anti Black Feminism - Vice
"From Lorde to Macklemore, it’s a sentiment that’s galling for its popularity: white artists need to stop using the wealth signifiers of rap music to gesture at their self-important “anti-consumerism.” What Allen misses as she washes rims in a kitchen decorated only with bottles of champagne is that it’s not anti-consumerism when it only targets one type of consumer."

Is There a Racist Undertone to Lily Allen’s “Hard Out Here” Video? - Flavorwire
"But beyond the mocking frame, if you think about the result for the women who are actually dancing in the video, it is still the same as your average Miley Cyrus/Gwen Stefani/Madonna exploitation of women of color. Let’s get abstract for a second: Here’s a white lady, singing about how she resents having to lose weight and generally be treated as a sex object. And she’s dancing with a number of comparatively voiceless and nameless black women. Their feelings about the situation they find themselves in are neither highlighted nor even explored; most of the time they’re smiling and laughing, as though they were enjoying themselves in the act. And let’s face it: most people are going to walk away from this video thinking, “Oh, those dancers were having fun,” and leave it there. For most people, there’s nothing wrong with a nameless, voiceless black women dancing in the background."

Lily Allen Hits Back at 'Hard Out Here' Racism Claims - Spin
"The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture," she wrote. "It has nothing to do with race, at all." She explained that despite two weeks of rehearsing her own twerk, she was unable to master the move, and added that the reason she was wearing more clothes than her dancers was her own insecurity."

Lily Allen's video for 'Hard Out Here' is a bit racist, but not to her - News.com


Per parlance's suggestion, Easy Out There For A (White) Bitch: A Few Words On Lily Allen and the Continued Use of Black Women’s Bodies As Props - Black Girl Dangerous

"I like satire as much as the next person. I write a lot of satirical stuff myself. And you know what? Satire works best when you are flipping the script on the oppressor, on the system. When you are calling attention to the ways that the system is jacked by amplifying the absurdity of that system. Not caricaturing and otherwise disrespecting the people who are oppressed by that system."