I hope Dianne Feinstein is emotional about torture

Cross-posted at Of Means and Ends.

When was the last time you heard a male politician described as “emotional”?

Discussions about John Boehner’s propensity for crying notwithstanding, it’s pretty rare that you will hear much discussion about a male leader’s emotions. “Emotional” is a heavily gendered term that isn’t used to invoke the possibility that feelings may have a legitimate place in a debate, but rather to discredit someone who’s supposedly not acting rationally. Even when Boehner’s crying is discussed, it’s usually played for laughs or viewed with confusion (its own problem), but not to impugn his ability to lead a party or make policy. But there’s been a firestorm this week over former CIA director Michael Hayden’s lobbing the term at Dianne Feinstein. Amy Davidson of The New Yorker writes: Read More »

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Forty-three years later, I am still on the front Lines

By Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices Clinic and Editor in Chief of On The Issues Magazine.

It has been 43 years since I founded one the first legal abortion clinic in the country—2 years before Roe v. Wade.

It has been twenty-five years since I organized the first pro-choice civil disobedience. It was 1989 and Operation Rescue was riding high, defying court orders and blocking clinic entrances, racking up eight hundred arrests in New York, New Orleans, and Cincinnati. Anti-abortion restrictions were working their way up to the Supreme Court. Read More »

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Women living with HIV cultivate leaders and food, in Uganda’s slums

In the Katwe slum in Kampala, Uganda, a group of women living with HIV are cultivating food, cleaning up the community and raising awareness of the right to sanitation and adequate housing.

Cross-posted from UN Women

Unclogging the drains; the Galima women conduct a community cleanup campaign

Unclogging the drains; the Galima women conduct a community cleanup campaign. Photo: Shelter & Settlements Alternatives: Uganda Human Settlements Network (SSA:UHSNET)

“When I wake up and get my spade, the neighbour gets her broom, and we happily clean our area!” says an enthusiastic Consolata Zavuga. Her smile and sense of humour are well known in the community.

The 58-year-old Ugandan activist founded the “Galima Fights HIV/AIDS Initiative” after attending the 11th International Conference for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda in October 2003. The initiative unites a group of 65 women living with HIV in informal settlements located in the Makindye Division of the Katwe II Base Zone, one of the most notorious slums of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Read More »

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HBO’s Silicon Valley: Where the women aren’t

"HBO presents Silicon Valley premiere tonight" sign

HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” premiered April 2 at the Redwood City Fox Theater in Silicon Valley

I had the opportunity to see the premiere of the new HBO comedy series, Silicon Valley in, well, Silicon Valley. It was a red carpet night, not just for the stars and producers of the show but also for tech leaders, such as Elon Musk, Mark Pincus and Michael Arrington. Yes, these elites are men. And it’s that gender lens that I was curious about as I shot video on the red carpet, watched the first two episodes in the Fox Theater, and went to the HBO after-party.

I must say, off the bat, that I am rooting for this show. I laughed throughout it, though I admittedly didn’t get all of the insider Valley and programming jokes, which the local tech crowd adored. And some of my favorite comedians are in the show, such as Zach Woods, formerly of The Office. They were all cracking jokes on the red carpet, so I could barely keep my camera steady.

But I just couldn’t get over the show’s representation of women.

Read More »

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Feminism

Feminist activism pertains to the seeking of social justice on all gender issues (particularly concerning what can be done to overcome inequality), and social justice is the idea of creating societies that are based on the principles of equality, human rights, and human dignity. Feminists work to bring about change through awareness of social injustices concerning women inequality and empowerment, and they bring to light many topics and issues women face.

Feminists work to address themes including media literacy, health and beauty, and women’s work. Media literacy is the application of critical thinking to media and pop culture. The stereotypes are known—the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, television, film, and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are “typically white, desperately thin, and made up to the hilt—even after slaying a gang of vampires or dressing down a Greek phalanx” (Media Awareness Network, 2010). Many would agree that some strides have been made in how the media portray women in film, television, and magazines and that the last twenty years have also seen a growth in the presence and influence of women in media behind the scenes. However, female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day. There is media bias such as females usually being represented in human interest stories rather than in business, sports, or foreign affairs. Media can really limit the empowerment of women and girls in society, and it can directly/indirectly promote oppression.  Read More »

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