Start your week off right

With lots and lots to read.

I’m back from my lovely weekend in Prague and Munich, and my email box is full of great articles and blog posts, all of which deserve to be highlighted in their own right — but I also have finals starting on Friday, so I have to learn ze German law ASAP, and that means limiting the blogging. In the meantime, there are a great many excellent links that you should check out below the fold.

And, to keep you checking Feministe regularly, we’re going to be making a Big Exciting Announcement sometime in the next day or two. You don’t want to miss it, so stay tuned.

Now, links:

Former guest-blogger Fauzia sends on this article about Indian women gaining greater independence through their careers. This is one that I wanted to do a full post on, because I was struck by how the women seem really torn between a traditional life and an independent one. The hunger for independence is there, but the idea that it’s possible to balance independence with tradition is still being forged, and young women are still told that they can’t have it all (sound familiar?).

The hysteria and schizophrenia about women’s autonomy isn’t just about women at work; it also reaches into religious expression, school attendance, and the intersections of race, religion, gender, and immigration status. I’m alluding, of course, to the French headscarf ban, which Laila Lalami (have I mentioned that I love her?) beautifully takes to task. Did you know that a simple headscarf is “a successor to the Berlin wall”? Me neither. Read the whole article.

What does gender have to do with water management? Quite a bit, apparently. Thanks for Kyle for the link.

Natalia interviews the Axis of Evil comedy team. They discuss the Clintons and American racism.

Bad news all around: Not only are pantyhose making a comeback, but our dear leader made it a priority to re-instate a White House dress code requiring women to wear them. I am staunchly anti-pantyhose; I do tights when it’s cold and sometimes I’ll do sheer black or fishnet stockings, but the skin-colored hose have to be some of the ugliest, least comfortable items of female fashion torture ever invented. So let’s hope this is a short-lived trend. The conservative focus on pantyhose strikes me as a little odd, since the “nude” ones aren’t really hiding anything, they’re just giving your skin a weird, shiny tone. Which is why comments like this confuse me:

Katie Couric has been one of the most stalwart and high-profile bare-leggers, bringing her tanned gams into living rooms every day with the TV news. But the sight of bare legs is so repulsive to some that a forum has emerged on, a website for stockings fans, dedicated to persuading the chipper news anchor to wear pantyhose. Fundraisers, bribes and beatings are a few of the strategies discussed. One man lamented that he’d been forced to switch to Fox, where the legs are rarely naked.

Besides the obvious fact that stockings don’t make your skirt any longer or your female-ness any less visible, it’s telling that “pro-modesty” commenters would suggest beating Couric as punishment for her slutty, slutty bare legs; it’s also kind of hilarious that complainants would switch to Fox News, the porniest network on TV (legs may not be naked on Fox, but a whole lot else is). Also, “a website for stockings fans”? I suspect there’s a nice bit of kink mixed in with the oh-so-wholesome concerns about stocking-clad legs.

And speaking of ridiculous and misogynist “concerns” about women’s personal decisions, Zuzu wrote about professional panty-sniffer Phil Kline; Crooks & Liars has more. Thanks to Kristen for the link.

Also, The Dudes Have Spoken and today, fake boobs are totally out. The best part? Details actually emailed Lauren a link to this article. Because “guys who read Details think your body is gross” is feminist news.

India’s own Pink Ladies are going all vigilante on corrupt officials. Good on them for learning self-defense, and for calling out corruption and wrong-doing. I’m not so hot about the violence (which of course is highlighted in the blurb but not really substantiated in the article), and definitely annoyed that the BBC felt the need to remind us that “The pink sorority is not exactly a group of male-bashing feminists,” but I am glad to see a story about one of the great many groups of women doing feminist work in their communities. Thanks to Cecily, Ali and Chris for the link.

Katha Pollitt on motherhood and the mommy perfection obsession.

Scientists Write Letters, and RHReality Check has the goods. And it is delicious. A taste:

As a group of leading scientists who have recently conducted research on adolescents, reproductive health, and abstinence-only education, we are writing to express our strong concern about increasing federal support for abstinence-only education (AOE) programs. This federal support includes monies going to states (Section 510 of the Social Security Act) and those going directly to community and faith-based organizations (the Community-Based Abstinence Education program). Recent reports in professional publications by the authors of this letter have highlighted multiple deficiencies in federal abstinence-only programs. As such, we are surprised and dismayed that the Congress is proposing to extend and even increase funding for these programs. In this letter we identify key problems with abstinence-only education. We also have attached recent scientific reports that are pertinent to the debate over these programs. We note that many of these studies have used nationally-representative data from surveys sponsored by the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You’re going to want to bookmark that post — it’s a great resource for future discussions about abstinence-only “education.”

With the holidays coming up, Roni points us to Early to Bed (warning: giant dildo on the header, which may not be work-safe), which not only sells sex toys, but donates a percentage of sales from certain gift sets to Planned Parenthood, the Chicago Women’s Health Center, the Chicago Abortion Fund, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Have I mentioned that I accept bribes?

Talk of the Nation has a piece on educator sex abuse, and one commenter makes a powerful point that this isn’t about “affairs” or adolescent sexual experimentation; when an adult teacher has sex with a minor student, he says, it’s rape. Other people, though, may argue that statutory rape laws are victimless crimes. I’m of the opinion that age does matter, but power matters more, and that it’s hard to separate the two. Should an 18-year-old go to jail for having sex with a 16-year-old? No. But is something fishy when a teacher, who is in a clear position of power, sleeps with a minor student? Yes.

We all know that David Horowitz is a racist, xenophobic, imperialist dipstick. Now we can add anti-feminist to the list — he’s going after gender studies programs. The executive director of the National Women’s Studies Association fires back.

Geeks and dating, the cartoon.

ChrisR sends on this article about violence against women in the D.R. Congo. It is, indeed, the most horrible thing you will read today. Any suggestions as to what we can do? ChrisR suggests writing to representatives, writing a letter to the editor, donating to the International Rescue Committee, educating others, applying economic pressure to whoever benefits from the violence, etc, all of which are solid ideas. Any additional suggestions are appreciated (and needed).

Any other links we should be reading today?

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24 comments for “Start your week off right

  1. December 3, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I’m not wearing pantyhose to work ever again, thanks. I’ve done my time.

  2. December 3, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Addendum: since I can’t wear skirts without some kind of hosiery or at least bike shorts because my thighs are on rather intimate terms with one another, that means pants. Which, thank God, I can now wear to work and in court.

  3. AG
    December 3, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    This sounds like an article stripped out of Onion but I am afraid it’s not! wtf?!

  4. meggygurl
    December 3, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    I have a friend who works for Social Services in GA and they are required to wear panty hose and heels. She tried fighting it, but no one else in her office would stand up with her.

    I don’t even OWN any. I have two pairs of fishnets for when I go to the club, one in hot pink the other in black. And that, is it. I wear pants or long skirts (more to cover up my tattoos then my legs). I have no shame about my chunky, pale legs. And if people are offended by them, they shouldn’t be looking at them. :P

  5. Dariaclone
    December 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I know I’m in the minority, but shoes fit better if I wear hose, so I do. But it’s stupid for anyone for force it.

  6. December 3, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for the NPR link. There’s a local scandal along these lines brewing here in Pasadena involving a teacher at a Catholic girls school, and this was helpful to me in thinking about the problem.

  7. TinaH
    December 3, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    How can I wear stupid sheer pantyhose when I’ve already started the annual winter boycott of leg shaving? Tights or slacks.

  8. December 3, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    But the sight of bare legs is so repulsive to some…

    Remember, it’s not a sick, twisted fetish if “normal” people are into it.

  9. evil fizz
    December 3, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    I can deal with pantyhose if I want to wear a skirt when it’s cold out. But otherwise? No. (Also, they are EXPENSIVE. If I’m lucky, I get three wearings out of a $2.49 pair.) That’s a ridiculous expense for something that just annoys me.

  10. Hawise
    December 3, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Hey, I’ll wear pantyhose but unless they are really, really clear about the leg shaving then they get what I deliver. They rarely insist twice. As leg shaving is reserved for swimming and shutting my younger sisters up, most people let me wear slacks.
    They aren’t really ‘bear’ kegs unless they are furry.

  11. Hawise
    December 3, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Dang- kegs = legs.

  12. December 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    i loathe pantyhose. they rip, they snag, they pinch, they engender crotch rot. i’d sooner wear garter belt and stockings (and sometimes do). mostly i wear pants, and if i need to do the femmey business shoe-type thing where i can’t get away with bare leg or socks, i (god save me, i hate these too, but) get those godawful kneehigh things. then i feel like my granny. and they rip too, and pinch around the calf; but at least i don’t have to wrestle with ’em every time i need to go to the can.

    also: YAY exciting announcement! wanna see exciting announcement! *bounce* *clap*

  13. December 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    “she’s got kegs…she knows how to use ’em…*urp*”

  14. December 3, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Tony whatshisface who wrote the “uber-boob” (ugh) article calls himself a feminist man on the first page. Was that a typo?

  15. anna
    December 3, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    So fake breasts are out. Is mocking and humiliating women with small or saggy breasts out? Didn’t think so. You must be perfect, but if you try too hard you’re a vain bimbo. Ugh.

  16. December 3, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Tony whatshisface who wrote the “uber-boob” (ugh) article calls himself a feminist man on the first page. Was that a typo?

    By “feminist” he means “sexist guy who thinks feminist chicks are hot.”

  17. annejumps
    December 3, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    But the sight of bare legs is so repulsive to some that a forum has emerged on, a website for stockings fans, dedicated to persuading the chipper news anchor to wear pantyhose. Fundraisers, bribes and beatings are a few of the strategies discussed. One man lamented that he’d been forced to switch to Fox, where the legs are rarely naked.

    Wow. Don’t they have anything better to spend their time on?

  18. annejumps
    December 3, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    anna: It’s like this: Mock women for not meeting your beauty standards, then mock them when they make the effort to meet them. Whee.

  19. exholt
    December 3, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    David Horowitz and those who support him are seriously underestimating the ability of undergraduates to independently make their own curricular choices and to make discerning choices as to whether they agree/disagree with the instructor/course material.

    My impression is that he and his supporters see undergraduates as young helpless children who cannot act and think for themselves and must be micromanaged into adulthood and beyond. There are times when I wonder whether this is part of an increasing trend towards the infantilization of American adolescents and young adults among upper/upper-middle class families.

    As a former undergraduate and a graduate student in regular contact with many undergrad students, I know most undergraduates would find this infantilization to be quite insulting to their intelligence and capabilities to function as independent young adults. This is especially the case with undergraduates who had to work part/full time to defray educational expenses without parental help.

    Even at an ostensibly progressive radical left college like mine, there were plenty of people that could get away with going four/five years without taking courses in “politicized” programs/departments such as Afro-American studies, Third World Studies, Environmental Studies, Multicultural Studies, Latin-American Studies, or Women’s Studies.* .

    * “Politicized” according to David Horowitz & supporters or Conservatives at work and in grad school with whom I’ve had discussions with.

  20. December 4, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Horowitz is an EPIC gobshite.

  21. ChrisR
    December 4, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Thanks Jill. I would never have guessed the deadliest conflict since WWII was in the D.R. Congo. Here’s more.

  22. December 4, 2007 at 2:51 am

    Thanks for the love, Jill.

    Oh, and I bet you anything that the people who believe in forced pantyhose are the same folk who scream to high heaven if they happen to spot a lady in hijab (of course, EVERYONE who wears hijab is forced into it… but WE would never, EVER force a woman to wear anything against her will!).

    I’m cool with stockings and garter belts, tights when it’s cold… pantyhose just strikes mes as uncomfortable and old-fashioned and pointless.

  23. JenLovesPonies
    December 4, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Early to Bed is the greatest store, ever, which I why I always get a little disappointed that only Good Vibrations seems to get the love in feminist circles. The owner of the store is a pink-haired queer/lesbian, and they host workshops, and are queer/trans/boy friendly. They also produced three porn movies last year; they are real lesbian couples doing their lesbian couple thing on film- no airbrushing, no fake orgasms, no fake blond hair- all directed by a woman. That store is such a delight.

  24. December 4, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks for all the love and support!! :)

    I just wanted to add our actual website link for those who want to head straight to the goodies. But definitely check out our blog and leave comments too!!

    Happy holiday humping,

    Education Coordinator
    Early to Bed

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