Welcome, good folk, to the 14th Carnival of Radical Feminists! I am very honored to be your host for this month's excellent spread of feminist thought. I've selected a bumper crop of 28 submissions for your perusal -- one for each day of our lunar cycle. I earnestly hope you will use this opportunity to not just read some choice posts, but to also discover new blogs, add them to your links and blogroll, and continue to grow our community in all its diversity. It's been a tremendous experience this month. Pass it on! -- Maggie Jochild
[Note: All images/graphics are credited at the end, and may be enlarged for easier viewing by clicking on them.]
From LaDoctorita at Unconventional Beauty, her essay "Cover Girls, Take 2" picks up on the process started by Shakesville's Impossibly Beautiful series and makes a grand tour of current magazine covers, explaining sexism, ageism, and fat oppression with blatant examples.
Favorite lines: "The next time somebody tries to tell you that men have to deal with just as many unhealthy stereotypes about their appearances as women do . . . just walk them over to the magazine aisle."
From Holly at Menstrual Poetry, her essay Obama, The Radical Feminist uses delicious humor to rebut the claims of a "men's rights" activist that Barack Obama has a radfem agenda.
Favorite lines: "...Because men deserve to have the last word when it comes to what women do with their bodies, right? Because you know, they know so much more about the bodies of women than actual women; I get it now."
Also from Holly at Menstrual Poetry, her essay Now Every Girl Can Be A Pole Dancer exposes the indoctrination mindfuck of The Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit (complete with Youtube video).
Favorite lines: "With their booklet of dance moves, a garter and 100 peekaboo dance dollars to reenact the real thing" and "I thought it was a joke, but sadly, I was mistaken."
Also from Holly at Menstrual Poetry, her essay Anti-Choice Oklahoma reports on Oklahoma's recently passed SB 1878 which, as Holly puts it, "takes all of the previously brought up anti-choice laws and combines them into one."
Favorite line: "It may just be me, but if you are not able to you know, do your job, because of your religious beliefs and moral convictions, shouldn’t you find another line of work?"
[Note: Holly is a prolific blogger and has more terrific posts than could all be included in this particular Carnival. You should definitely add her to your daily check-in list.]
From Debs at The Burning Times, the essay When Does Kinky Sex Become Illegal? examines the confusing logic of a bill set to become law in the UK which outlaws the possession of "extreme porn" because it is "damaging" while other pornography is defined as not.
Favorite lines: "Keep in mind what most porn users would have you believe is the primary purpose of pornography, i.e. to 'get off' as one so-called 'feminist' once told me. (How on earth did people 'get off' before the existence of porn? She couldn’t answer that one…)"
From Jennifer Drew at At The Root (submitted by Debs, thanks), the essay How Male Violence Against Women and Children Continues to be Defined as ‘Isolated Incidents’ - whereas Female Violence is Interpreted as Deviancy examines the obfuscating language used in news reports about gendered violence.
Favorite lines: "Linking all these three stories or narratives is the central one wherein male sexual/physical violence against women and girls is part of what is supposedly normal and innate masculine behaviour. Women and girls are, however, held to a far higher and different standard wherein any deviation from their supposed ‘feminine role’ is reported as innate deviancy and madness."
'Don't look so worried.
I'm just going to exercise my freedom of speech.'
From Nine Deuce at Rage Against The Man-chine, her essay The First Amendment is only sort of cool explores the contradictory logic of using a free speech defense or "community interest" argument to defend pornography which clearly does damage. [Particularly relevant right now with the mass frenzy over Grand Theft Auto II, which rewards "players" for the rape and murder of prostitutes.]
Favorite lines: "...As rapacious and lascivious as some of the patriarchs who founded this here nation were, I’m pretty sure none of them intended that the very first amendment they added to the republic’s founding sheet of parchment would be used as a pretext for defending the 'right' of motherfuckers with morals lower than whale shit in the Marianas Trench to create videos simulating the gang rape and sexualized murder of women, and the simulated rape of children."
Also from Nine Deuce at Rage Against The Man-chine, her essay Porn Part 4: Half of the Big Picture continues her extraordinarily cogent, plain-speaking, and often hilarious series about pornography. (Parts 1 through 6 are available at her blog, and they are drawing links and praise from all over the blogosphere.)
Favorite lines: "There’s no other object that is both desired and hated in the way women in porn are."
"Men are just as affected by our bizarre cultural expectations and prescriptions for female sexuality as women are."
"I’m a liberal. I don’t want to ban anything, I just want to inform consumers about the impact of their choices, which is the only real way to effect change, in my view."
From Kate/Cruella at Cruella-Blog, her essay Trouble in Comedy-Land reports on a recent incident in the UK where a female audience member was persuaded onstage by a male "comedian" and sexually molested as part of his "routine", with no intervention from anyone watching.
Favorite lines: "Why is anyone asking what the boundaries of comedy are? Yes, it's ok for comics to say offensive things - that's because we all have freedom of speech...Personally I think we shouldn't reward comics who make sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist jokes, and in some cases there may be a case to be made against them for inciting hatred or crime, but that's a totally separate issue. None of us, including comedians, have the right to rape or sexually assault."
From Heart at Women's Space, her essay May Day: A Tribute to Lucy Parsons honors "this woman of color and a working-class revolutionary" who "spent her life struggling for the rights of the poor, unemployed, homeless, women, children, and minority groups, and for a future society based on free association of labor organizations."
Favorite lines: "We [women] are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men...We [say] that the land shall belong to the landless, the tools to the toiler, and the products to the producers."
Also from Heart at Women's Space, her essay Rev. Jeremiah Wright for President offers an antidote to the unjustified media free-for-all at the expense of the better thinking coming from Jeremiah Wright and Black Liberation Theology. (This created a long, thoughtful discussion in Comments.)
Favorite line: "...White people and nonblack people have absolutely no idea of the role of the black church and black pastors in the journey towards liberation for all people in this country, not only black people, but all women and all human beings of good will and good faith."
From Natasha at Homo Academicus, her essay Pick Your Battles uses the struggle she went through to legally change her last name to a shared one with her partner as a very useful primer for discussing the role and value of allies.
Favorite lines: "I’m not being oversensitive, I’m not too emotionally involved in the situation to judge whether or not I’m being treated unfairly. I don’t need an straight person to act as an 'impartial' observer to judge whether or not I’m rationally assessing the situation."
"I live these battles moment-by-moment, day-by-day. I don’t have the energy to devote to combating it all, because I am more than just a homo, I am a person with a life."
From Pisaquari at Buried Alive (submitted by Amy's Brain Today, thanks), the essay Hot For Tots (Sexual Stigma, p.1) addresses the issue of child porn, offering an explanation as to why it is not simply out there but on the rise when "Being anti child porn is sorta like the ultimate DUH, isn’t it? Duh! Who the fuck says they are down with child porn? And yet, our country/world can’t keep its creepy hands off of them. So what’s the dealiyo?"
Favorite lines: "How, pray tell, is a person (a child no less!) to be sexualized without someone being the one to sexualize her. Excuse my agenda for a second, but these pictures would not be sexy or sexual if women’s bodies were not appropriated. Period! They are sexual because of conditioning, not innateness, so that actually makes it the sexualizer’s fault–not Miley’s."
Also from Amy's Brain Today at Feminist Reprise :: The Blog, her essay A Few Thoughts on Appropriation sheds some succinct light on why crediting sources (ALL sources) has been a feminist ethical standard for decades, and why sidestepping this practice is glove-in-hand with race, gender and class oppression.
Favorite lines: "What’s the goal? Pursuing patriarchal white supremacist ideas about success–being the lone explorer/savior, the authority, shedding brilliance and enlightenment? Or being part of something bigger, part of a network or a movement of people who want a different world and are working on building it in lots of different ways?"
Also from Amy's Brain Today at Feminist Reprise: The Blog, in her essay The first periodic FR awards for boneheadedness begins a "best of" idiocy selection that I hope she continues. This post's focus gave top "prize" to the Tulsa judge who ruled a 16-year-old girl could not protest a man photographing under her skirt without her consent at a Target store because "…[t]he person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy", and also took on the illogic of lesbians who travel to marry in another state because they cannot get married in their own then complaining that they cannot get divorced in their own state, either.
Favorite lines: "ALL YR BODEEZ, THEY ARE BELONG TO US" and
"Haven’t the heterosexuals given us plenty of evidence for the unreliability of conjugal bliss?"
From Renee at Womanist Musings, she describes her essay Is Planned Parenthood Racist? with "Planned parenthood has recently come under attack for the number of abortions obtained by WOC. In this post I attempt to explain why this is not a racist issue. I further go into the fact that this is just an attempt to reduce women's access to abortion."
Favorite lines: "These pro-life protesters all refuse to deal with the real issues behind why the rate of abortion is so high for African American women. Blacks are subject to systemic racism, high rates of poverty and high rates of imprisonment...Nowhere do I see these ministers advocating for things like socialized health care, education, daycare and flexible working hours for mothers...Instead they are focusing on birth which is a false starting point, as parenthood is a lifelong occupation. Race in this case is being used as a mechanism of control, to instill fear in the black population."
[NOTE: Womanist Musings has a wealth of extremely well-written, well-researched, and thought-provoking posts published. Another essay of hers was not submitted for this Carnival but I still want to promote it here: The Doll Test: White = Good And Black = Bad concerns a follow-up to the "doll test" devised in 1940 by Kenneth and Mamie Clark to examine how black children were impacted by segregation. The video accompanying this illuminating essay reveals how "Black children have internalized the self-hatred that has been promoted by our social institutions." Racist conditioning destroys any hope of liberation for us. Please share this post out there.]
From Jessica Valenti at Feministing (submitted by Natasha Fairweather, thanks, Natasha), her post College student sexually assaulted while crowd cheers tells the story of a woman who was twice sexually assaulted on the University of Connecticut campus, the second time by male onlookers as punishment for her successfully fighting back against the first assault. [Note: There is a TRIGGER WARNING at the top of this story.]
Favorite lines: "What's truly incredible about this story is how it really dismantles the idea that teaching women to protect themselves (via self-defense, specifically) is truly effective...This isn't to say that I think women shouldn't learn self-defense or fight back against assault - on the contrary, I think they should if that's what's best for them. But it's not an answer to rape culture (in which a crowd of people can stand and fucking cheer as a woman is being assaulted) - and that's what we need to be fighting back against."
From kat at BitchCraft, her essay housework, gender, being a "wife" reports on two recent articles about the inequity in housework allocation between genders and links it to Judy Syfer's classic 1970 essay "Why I Want A Wife". [Note: In the interest of disclosure, my blog recently reprinted Judy Syfers essay as part of my weekly Feminism Unadulterated series, which is where kat read it.]
Favorite lines (from the Update to the original post): "Since this posted the first time, there has been a lot of publicity from the passing of laws making it easier for husbands to take the wife's last name, and 'allowing' new parents to give their kids the mother's name....While that's encouraging, it does hammer home the point that marriage is completely patriarchal. These laws try to make it seem less so, and may placate the 'I'm a progressive, but I'm still going to buy into all the bullshit' set (you know, the ones with diamonds on their fingers and babies in yuppie-strollers who are stay at home moms and claim that they chose that in a totally un-pressured way), but I don't buy it."
From Rebecca Mott at RMott62, her essay Just Don't Want to Know speaks out, with the experience and knowledge of a former prostitute, against the "Men’s Demand for Prostitution in Scotland”.
Also from Rebecca Mott at RMott62, her essay Justify This responds to the media portrayal of male sexual violence as "one-off" instances, and affirms instead the reality of how the threat of male sexual violence imprisons women and children around the world.
Favorite lines: "The thing that makes me very angry, is when men justify their use of prostituted women and girls by saying that it prevents rape. Christ. That is saying that they are rapists, but it does not matter."
"But for the men buying women is 'adventurous'. They choose to believe that prostituted women and girls are not like other women."
[We must ALL guard against that delusion, Rebecca. Thank you so much for writing personally. I want you to know, I heard you.]
From Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes, her essay If Clinton Gave a Speech on Gender imagines an "alternate universe" in which Hillary Clinton gives a speech on gender commensurate with Barack Obama's speech on race.
Favorite lines: "In her speech, Clinton said our democracy was 'stained by the original sin' of patriarchy. She noted that it took many years before men granted women the right to their own wages, let them make decisions about their own bodies, enter into contracts without the permission of a male relative, etc. Although the Declaration of Independence declared 'all men were created equal,' the Constitution was later amended to specify men by gender. Men never went to war over women’s rights. Instead, women and men have waged what may be the largest and longest peaceful movement in history, even though women continue to face daily violence from men."
Also from Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes, her essay In Defense of Marriage pokes sharp fun at the pending Marriage Protection Amendment to Florida's state constitution.
Favorite lines: "I’m not a Bible-fearing woman. In fact, I fear people who fear the Bible. They’re the ones pushing this amendment to make sure that same-sex marriage becomes even more illegal that it already is. If they want to protect marriage, why stop there? Why not outlaw adultery, for example? Unlike same-sex marriage, the Bible has plenty to say against adultery. Even one of the commandments forbids it."
Also from Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes, her essay Dividing feminists takes on an article by editor Betsy Reed in the "We Hate Hillary" issue of The Nation and demolishes her so-called logic, point by point.
Favorite lines: "No. 1, division doesn’t seem to be Reed’s real point. She wouldn’t want feminists to unite behind Clinton; she wants them to support Obama. Wanting everyone to support your candidate is not the same as disliking discord. Using her logic, couldn’t someone say Obama divided feminists because he appeals to some and not others? No. 2, you can’t have a rift unless you had unity before. Anyone who thinks the feminist movement ever marched in lock step needs to read some history."
From Marcella at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open her essay Defining Rape When Vulnerability Created By Others is "the first in a series of posts in response to a question about whether a boy who exploited a girl unable to consent, because someone else drugged her, is a rapist."
Favorite lines: "Any erring must be on the side of protecting those around us...Rationalization is the tool which makes unethical and illegal actions into nothing more than providing comfort."
From Dissenter at Mermaid's Garden (submitted by allecto, thanks), her essay Coping Strategies as Opposed to Feminism explores coping strategies used by women to provide "(an appearance of) escape from real life, but often, unless watched with a critical eye, they can be trapping women deeper within the patriarchal mire."
Favorite lines: "The patriarchal mainstream (malestream) is not feminist. It is very hostile to feminism, and it’s therefore not about to go around praising and promoting texts that show it up for what it is. It’s going to bury them and their creators (the real feminist women) in absolute obscurity."
[Note: I want to take this opportunity to plug the other radical feminist blog where allecto posts, Gorgon Poisons.]
From Sue Katz at Sue Katz: Consenting Adult, her rant Let's Take A Knife To Mommy takes on the recent publication of a children's book aimed at promoting plastic surgery to little girls. (I won't print the title here, there's been enough publicity for this atrocity.)
Favorite lines: "The failures of our feminist vision seem to be right up in our faces of late – from these wretched wars and occupations to the mortifying bouffant hairdo’s that network newswomen seem expected to wear."
"Seventies feminists tried to build a movement and a consciousness that would endure through the generations, but the forces of profit are so strong that they require each generation to build its own defenses."
And, right at the deadline, one more entry from Holly at Menstrual Poetry is too good to hold over until next month. Her essay The Anti-Choice Agenda Gets Even More Ridiculous exposes the true agenda emerging from the anti-choice movement, which is to stop all forms of birth control. (See the post above from Amy's Brain Today with its comment ALL YR BODEEZ, THEY ARE BELONG TO US.)
Favorite lines: "I plan on driving to my local Planned Parenthood on June 7 and seeing what the protest looks like there (even though the closest Planned Parenthood to me that I can even call local is about 40 miles away) and see if they’re really pushing the peaceful concept; I’m thinking no… I also plan on taking pictures and seeing how many of these people are willing to talk to me; could be a damn good time indeed." You GO, Holly.
Our next Carnival will be hosted by Stacy at Rage Against the Man-Chine on Wednesday, June 18. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, June 11th. Submit your blog article to the 15th edition of Carnival of Radical Feminists using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Thanks, as ever, to Heart for beginning this Carnival and keeping it organized!
Credit for graphics used in this post, in order used:
International Women's Day, Trafalgar Square, London, photo © by Jill Posener
Just Be Skinny billboard photographed in San Francisco by Jill Posener.
National Organization for Men cartoon was drawn by Drew and Natalie Dee. Their website, Toothpaste for Dinner, is worth checking out. Thanks to Kate for the attribution.
Pimp Tom Pimp is a poster available from a retro series at AllPosters, artist's name is not given.
Pro Fucking Choice button came to me uncredited and I don't know who the maker was.
Eleanor Roosevelt quote card from Stella Marrs.
Muffled Screams card from Anne Taintor.
Freedom of Speech dinosaur cartoon is from the magnificent site They Thought We Were Extinct by Phemisaurus Terribilis, whose devastatingly funny feminist concoctions have won mention at past Carnivals of Radical Feminists. I check them regularly for entertainment.
Republican lap dancer graphic is from an unknown source -- I just pulled it off the web somewhere.
The girl wanting to join her mother in revolution graphic is also from an unknown source.
Lucy Parsons poster by Ricardo Levins Morales at Northland Poster Collective
Roots Odyssey, collage by Romare Bearden
2000 Years of Patriarchy graffiti photographed in London, 1982 by Jill Posener.
Audre Lorde quote card from Stella Marrs.
June Jordan poster by Ricardo Levins Morales at Northland Poster Collective.
Smile dinosaur cartoon is also from the above-mentioned They Thought We Were Extinct by Phemisaurus Terribilis.
Feminist buttons photo from the archives of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union Herstory Project.
Black lesbian family photo was found at G-Spot Magazine, photographer not credited.
Women performing Tae Kwon Do -- Two members of Boston Female Liberation, Jayne West and Dana Densmore, from a photo essay about women's liberation in Life magazine, 1969
Housework for guys graphic is from an unknown source.
Women Unite Take Back the Night poster is from the archival reprints available for sale at the Chicago Women's Liberation Union Herstory Project.
Fight Sexism (Lluitem Contra El Sexisme) graffiti photo is probably (I'm not certain) from the Fun with Feminist Flickr collection via Feministing.
Birth control poster by Austin Cline.
Back against the wall graffiti photographed in London by Jill Posener.
Blame Rapists march banner is from an unknown source.
Women Unite graphic is from an unknown source.
Free of little pricks graffiti photographed in London by Jill Posener.
Time-traveling lesbians graphic came from Monkey Fluids.