6 Thought-Provoking News Stories Every Feminist Should Read This Week
What a week. We got a rap from Ben Carson (pause to roll your eyes), bizarre Saturday Night Live promos for Donald Trump's hosting gig, and word that President Obama intends to veto approval for building the Keystone XL pipeline (so, at least one good piece of news!). The point is, it's been a busy week. Despite the frenzy of the goings-on in the world, there's still time for some thoughtful and in-depth reading on topics that matter to us the most, and some new stories about events and people we may never have heard of before. This week there were a number of truly thought-provoking feminist news stories published that shed new light on important issues and events to really get us thinking.
This week, we will take a look at women on-screen with fabulous genius Geena Davis, as well hear about racism black women face throughout their entire lives. There are also two stories that look at totally different aspects of women and pregnancy: one woman's photography series on her recent child's birth, and another story about new reproductive rights legislation in California. The final two stories in this week's round-up of feminist reads deal with suicide myths and an underground operation in Iraq that shelters women who have escaped ISIS and other dangerous situations.
Here's a list of some of the best and most though-provoking feminist pieces to read as we head into the weekend:
A Conversation With Geena Davis On Women In The Media
Discussions over representations of gender in the media, not to mention the gender pay gap for women in Hollywood, have rightly taken center stage recently. In an interview this week for The Establishment, writer Michael J. Sainato spoke with actress and gender advocate Geena Davis about the status of women in the media, and her work to improve the on-screen representation of women and girls. When asked what the film industry should do to correct the gender imbalance, Davis stated simply,
Film casting directors should just pause and populate their films more with more women. Change a bunch of names from male to female, and voila, suddenly you have a gender-balanced movie and the female characters will be un-stereotyped, probably, because they were originally written for men.
Davis' insightful ideas for the film industry are inspiring and through-provoking and well worth the read.
"But You're So Smart — You Can't Be Black."
Writer Hope Akube wrote a compelling personal essay for Ozy this week, discussing the myriad ways she and her older sister have experienced racism throughout their successes in academia and in their careers. Akube remembered her time in undergrad, where white feminists told her that she needed to learn to talk and act black, essentially telling Akube that she wasn't black enough. Akube writes that she no longer cares about what others think about her in terms of blackness, but rather concerns herself with the pressing and alarming issues facing black people the world over, and particularly in the U.S., where racial violence dominates headlines. Akube's frank discussion about race and racial stereotyping are a wake-up call and a reminder that racism takes many forms.
Photos That Capture The Dark, Conflicting Nature Of Motherhood
This week on Broadly, Tom Seymour highlighted the work of Norwegian photographer Marie Sjøvold, who took a series of moving and intimate photos that show the changes to her body and her family after the birth of her most recent child. The photography project is called "Midnight Milk," and was recently shown at the Nordic Light International Festival of Photography in Norway. Sjøvold's discussion of her work and the message about the various meanings and aspects of motherhood are deeply honest and reveal a side of motherhood we rarely get to experience.
California Now Requires Crisis Pregnancy Centers To Say They're Not Real Medical Clinics
A victory for pro-choice advocates was handed down in California this week. Kirsten Kelley wrote about the new requirement in Bitch this week, explaining why the often religiously affiliated pregnancy centers must now post signage that makes it clear they are not running a medical facility. Thanks to legislation that passed last month in California any facility that provides pregnancy testing and reproductive counseling most post a sign that reads:
California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].
Centers who are not medically licensed must also post a sign that says, "This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services." Pro-choice advocates feel that these changes will prevent church-run centers from providing inaccurate or incomplete information to clients who may want to discuss abortion as an option.
A Psychiatrist Debunks The Biggest Myths Surrounding Gun Suicides
Kate Masters had an interview with clinical professor of psychiatry Liza Gould for The Trace to discuss myths surrounding suicides completed with guns. Among the misinformation about suicide and guns were pieces of information about women and gun suicides, previously presented as facts, but which are in fact not supported by research. Gould explained,
There used to be the very sexist explanation that women didn’t commit suicide with guns because they didn’t want to disfigure themselves. They took overdoses so they didn’t look bad when they died. There’s no scientific evidence that supports that. The reason is that people kill themselves with what they have handy, and more men had guns than women, by far. Well, that’s starting to change.
The additional information Gould provided about suicide and guns is valuable for us all to hear, particularly because it corrects inaccuracies we have been taught in the past.
Meet The Creator Of A Secret Network Of Women's Shelters In Iraq
In an article for Quartz this week, Benedetta Argentieri wrote about an underground network in Iraq that helps women who have escaped from IS captivity, and women who have escaped domestic violence and trafficking. The NGO is based in Baghdad and is run by Yanar Mohammed, a woman whose daughters were once kidnapped. Mohammed told Argentieri that IS is largely to blame for domestic violence against women in Iraq, but that inaction on the part of the government is also a large part of the problem.