I am a woman from Asia and the Pacific, having been born in Malaysia and raised in New Zealand; I have always straddled both sides of my vast and awkwardly constructed region. I was struck recently, when over a few beers, a friend asked me to name three feminist icons all of the names I came up with were white women from Europe or North America, and this is true for most of the young Asian feminists I know. As a young woman growing up and coming into my feminist consciousness, feminism and whiteness were all tangled together for me. For a while, being a feminist meant rejecting my Indian identity and accepting a position of ‘honorary whiteness.’ This made me deeply uncomfortable, although for a long time I did not have the anti-racist language to describe how and why this was problematic....read more
Across the internet, various groups are demanding justice for Daily Coleman, the 14-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by a popular high school football player from a well-connected family. But it’s unclear what that “justice” would actually look like. A special prosecutor has been appointed to the case, and I’m hopeful she’ll be able to shed light on all the facts. But were it not for conservative Supreme Court justices, Daisy could have had other options: She could have sued her alleged attacker under a federal cause of action established by the Violence Against Women Act. I’m writing about that in The Nation today:...read more
There’s a part of me that thinks yes — when the legal system has failed, there are few other options to seek justice, and an internet collective isn’t the worst one. But I’m also incredibly wary of unchecked power and the ethos of spreading information without verifying its authenticity or accuracy, and a movement that feeds on rage and indignation without any real accountability. It’s particularly important to look at these issues when they’re being carried out for a cause we believe in. Does the calculus change if Anonymous’s tactics are leveled at someone we support? And then, are the tactics and ethics bad, or just the issue? I have a feeling this position will be very unpopular with the Feministe commentariat, but here goes:...read more
That’s the question a Fox News contributor is asking about the Maryville rape victim. She snuck out! She drank! What did she think was going to happen? As a woman who in my youth did sometimes sneak out, drink and appear in the same room as young men, here is a brief and thoroughly non-exhaustive list of everything I expected to happen on the nights I went out:...read more
A well-meaning mother****er at one of our schools recently suggested that integrating consent into sex education should prevent rape, because it helps date rapists to understand what consent does and doesn’t look like. Bollocks, we say. Whilst teaching consent does create a more feminist, hostile environment for rapists who try operating without being called out, it’s not the same as educating date rapists to recognise signs of consent – because rapists in fact know damn well what consent looks like, despite claiming they just didn’t realise their dates said no. And coincidentally, that’s the topic of this episode…...read more
In Maryville, Missouri, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a high school senior from a well-connected family. She and a 13-year-old friend snuck out to go to a party with some senior boys, mostly popular football players. They gave her alcohol until she blacked out, and one of them had sex with her. Photos were taken. Then they left her on her doorstep in the winter cold, where she nearly froze to death. Sexual assault, sexual exploitation and endangerment charges were all brought. Then they were dropped. The girl’s family was essentially run out of town, and their house eventually burned down. The entire story is horrific, and the Kansas City Star offers a great piece of in-depth reporting here....read more
The current Republican temper tantrum over health care — you know, the one where they forced a shut-down of the entire government because they don’t want the American public to have health care coverage — is just the logical conclusion of a long line of GOP healthcare shenanigans. But usually, they’re targeting poor people, and poor women in particular. In my Guardian column this week, I’m writing about how this all goes back to the Hyde Amendment:...read more
1. This article deals explicitly with issues of both penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault. It may be triggering for some readers.
2. While this is written from my own personal experiences, they still do not represent all kinds of sexual assault experiences. My article is meant to bring attention to other kinds of sexual assault and promote the inclusion of these experiences in assault conversations and survivor advocacy.
How does a person achieve redemption after a series of serious offenses? At what point is the process deemed to be complete? What does a person have to do to be judged appropriately sorry and allowed to stop atoning? What should we feel about a person while they’re pursuing the process? What does it say about us when we can’t or won’t let it go?
(Short answer: Don’t care.)...read more
The state of North Carolina has passed a $10 million compensation plan for victims of its eugenics program, which ran from 1929 to 1974. It’s estimated that 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under the program; 177 have since been identified.
[Strong content note for ableism and racism]...read more
In the last month or so, the AMA, acting against its own science council’s advice, has declared obesity to be a “disease.”...read more
Welcome to Sex + Cookies, an advice column where we answer questions on sexual health and relationships, whilst mocking creepers, misogynists and their Republican Rape Caucus allies in Congress. Alright, time to dive into our next episode…...read more