Feminist News Round Up - August!
The 2016 Rio Olympics has ruffled some feathers with how women have been represented, and reported on their sporting achievements during the coverage of the games. Despite a broad range of successes from the women representatives at the Olympics, the media and commentators have diverted attention away from success, and drew attention to the inequality that still largely dominates women in sport and in the Olympics. In particular, several articles describe female athletes in terms of their husbands, their husbands jobs and consequently belittle the achievements of the women themselves. We think Ezra Klein's video sums it up a few examples pretty nicely.
On several occasions, the woman's appearance or attractiveness was commented on by commentators, hardly an important or relevant fact to their sporting ability - not to mention how it sexualises them. Read more about this here
Meanwhile, Olympic swimmer, Fu Yuanhui spoke up about the often taboo occurence of having your period (oh no!), which is not often spoken of in Chinese culture or general sport culture, especially in such a public forum. Many Chinese people were confused as to why Fu's swimming pool trail was not followed by blood, as tampons are not commonly used in the country, or even an option that women are aware that they have for their periods. There is a high value placed on virginity in China, with many women undergoing hymen restoration surgey to mask their hymen being broken from sexual activity, sports or just general strenuous activity, and remain under the confines of a conservative society. Have a look-see on this here
Harley Quinn's suicide squad has attracted a lot of attention with it's release on August 4th - but not for the right reasons. The film has been label mysogynistic, anti-progressive and accused of representing abusive relationships as love. Hidden under a weak attempt to be feminist, the film has central characters that should be strong female leads, but are constantly trumped and pushed to the side by their more aggressive and male counterparts.Read more about it here
President Obama has spoken out again about feminism, and what it means to be a feminist, this time through a moving letter that you can read here. He speaks openly about what it is like to be a husband and father to his daughters, particularly one with such a vast influence; "one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman". Obama discusses the progression that has been made in women's rights over the years, acknowledging the achievements, but doesn't dismiss that their is still a long way to go in a number of areas. He powerfully states (referring to his daughters and all daughters) that is is "important that their dad is a feminist, because now that is what they expect of all men".
Olympic swimmer, Yusra Mardini, saved 20 lives on August 9th, by swimming them back to safely on a sinking boat at sea. The 18-year-old was at the Olympics as part of the Rufugee Olympics team to compete in the 100m Freestyle and Butterfly swimming races, but has made an even more remarkable and strong performance at sea. Read more here
On August 23rd, yet again, a male high school student and athlete in Massachusetts has been omitted from prison time after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two of his classmates.The attorney claimed that we should not be defined by mistakes that we made in our adolescence, and that he should not be put away, because it would "destroy his life". Read more on this here
UK Conservative MP, Philip Davies has received criticism after controversially stating that "feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it" at the Justice for Men and Boys party's conference on August 12th. He openly received backlash for questioning the lack of benefits that women have compared to men at the conference, including a range of women on the internet posting photos of them eating cake. The conference, already a conservative platform that is "the only political party in the English-speaking world campaigning for human rights of men and boys", supports UK governments introducing policies such as an earlier pension for men as they "work harder and die earlier". The MP faces suspension for being anti-feminist and offensive to both men and women's rights. Read more here
On August 3rd, a genital mutilation sufferer who resides on Nauru was refused treatment by officials. The woman had been subject to genital mutilation in her home country, causing her phenomenol amounts of pain, and medical complications. The report came from a broaded human rights surveillance what has been carried out by the UN and Amnesty International this year, which uncovered a range of abuse of human rights, particularly in relation to hospital treatment, and inability to help those who were sick, injured or suffering pain - simply ignoring their symptoms or disregarding them. Read more here
On August 22nd, a US Pew Research Survey showed alarmingly that 56% of male respondents said that gender inequality was gone. The survery conducted included over 4,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65, revealing that many men believe that sexism is not prevalent (38%), compared to a whopping 63% of the women in the survey - making the point even more clear that the sentiment still very much exists. Read more here
The French have banned the 'burqini', forcing Muslim women to be bystanders on the beach. The official ban has highlighted extreme sexism and anti-Muslim attitudes that exist in France. The act is one of discirimination masked by claims that the reason behind the ban related to hygiene in the sea. Raising a debate about afforded freedoms, the officials see the restraints as creating freedoms by enforcing rules using political power. The ban has created an uprising, and a throw back into the faces of officials with protests such as this fab party. Read more here
Nanaia Mahuta is the first New Zealand female MP to wear a moko kauae, a traditional female Maori chin tattoo in parliament. Along with 13 other women in the NZ Parliament, Nanaia got the tattoo inked to show there is an emerging awarenress of the preservation of the Maori culture and a symbol of a woman in a position of power in her community. Read about it here
On August 12th, the body of Hande Kader, a Turkish transgender activist was found raped, mutilated and burnt on the side of a road. The discovery of Kader's body comes after she was reported missing fby her housemate earlier that week. The murder has created an uproar, with the entirety of Turkey in political turbulence and violence. Not unlike many others within the transgender community in Turkey, Kader was a sex worker because she had no other choice for money to live. Her death has emulated a wave of shock that many have turned a blind eye to the struggles and violence experienced by transgendered people in Turkey and elsewhere. Read more about this tragedy here