Male Senator from Wisconsin Is Expert On Women’s Natural Stupidity & Sneakiness

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn GrothmanWisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman is an unusually intelligent man. And we both know that men are usually intelligent.

How intelligent is he? Let me count the ways.

1. He authored a bill to label single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.” 31% of children in his state live in single parent homes.

2. He blames single parenthood on “the choice of the women”.

3. He identifies the government of making the “single motherhood lifestyle” desirable. (What about single fathers? Well, they’re men, so there’s no need to criticize them.)

4. He illuminates that women actually don’t have unplanned pregnancies. They just lie and say the pregnancies were unplanned. Because they’re women. Lying’s what they do.

5. He draws the fine line that women are dumb enough not to know that it’s hard to be a single parent, but smart enough to have a country-wide conspiracy to lie about their covertly-planned unplanned pregnancies for reasons that they have as of yet not revealed. No word yet on single fathers or the baby daddies of these nefarious single mothers. Which is probably because these smart-stupid single ladies have found a way to reproduce that doesn’t even involve men, meaning that we are only a short journey away from a dystopian future of feminazi fascism and male slavery.

Why do I think I hear the infamous welfare queen lurking behind his words?

The Gender Pay Gap, 1st Year Out of College

From The Statesman, by Ann Daly:

A woman graduating with a bachelor’s degree last year earned a median starting salary of $36,451. For a man, it was $44,159. When you calculate a lifetime of percentage raises and compound interest, that nearly $8,000 difference is staggering.

As demoralizing as the findings of “Gender and College Recruiting” might be for this year’s female grads, its implications for future generations of women in the workplace are downright alarming. NACE’s analysis, which painstakingly isolates a systematic gender effect by taking into account the differential salary levels among majors and then comparing salaries within the same major, gives lie to the conventional wisdom that paycheck parity will somehow materialize for women with the mere passage of time.

Never Treat Your Girlfriend Better than You Treat Your Wife

Democratic Alabama State Senator Hank SandersWhat’s not to like about this opinion piece in the Selma Times-Journal, written by Democratic Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders? My personal favorite part is using the wife-girlfriend dichotomy to symbolize the “home-grown industry” versus the “new industry”. Rhetorical genius.

I would suggest that this article is offensive towards women, but by its very nature, Sanders indicates that the Selma Times-Journal has no female readers, and therefore there are no women to offend.

Oh, and what is it that riled Sanders sufficiently to write such a rousing polemic against Alabama governor Bob Riley? Riley’s treatment of Bush Hog, “the world’s most successful” manufacturer of rotary cutters for clearing land. So you can imagine that emotions are running high and the only way Sanders could express the true tenor of his feelings is incredibly derogatory language against women.

h/t Drew

France Is Fucking Up

You will find the following video disturbing, if you are disturbed by the sight of policemen beating women and dragging their babies.

This video shows a police attack against immigrant women and children in France who were protesting for access to shelter. They had been camping out in a public space. (The video won’t imbed for some reason. Curse you WordPress!)

Notice how the newscaster frames the story, giving caveat after caveat to caution the viewer not to get too riled up. It was totally justified to beat unarmed women and children who are protesting for housing! The public order was at stake, and come on, these people are simply immigrants of color ruining the French way of life.

Two takes on this video:

Renee at Womanist Musings: It takes Courage to be a Brown/Black Mother in this World

BFP at Flip Flopping Joy: Mama

If you want to throw up in your mouth, read the disgusting comments following the NYTimes coverage. Basically, these homeless women, and not the police, are the ones who used brutality and harmed the children. So the NYT commenters would have it.

Jewish Burqa-Wearers

The Daily Telegraph tells us about a small, woman-led trend amongst certain ultra-orthodox Jewish communities: burqas.

Some Israeli Jewish women have decided to wear burqas as a way to fulfill their commitment to modest dress. And the men do not like it. As a matter of fact,

At the insistence of the husbands of some burka-wearing women, a leading rabbinical authority is to issue an edict declaring burka wearing a sexual fetish that is as promiscuous as wearing too little.

A small group of ultra-orthodox Jews in the town of Beit Shemesh chose to don the burka, usually associated with women in repressive Islamist regimes, three years ago in a bid to protect their modesty.

Yes, that’s right. Shlomo Pappenheim, one of the edict-writers, believes that the burqa is promiscuous. What the hell?

Also, what’s with the term “repressive Islamist regimes”? WTF is that supposed to mean? Hasn’t the latest burqa kerfuffle centered on France? Arg.

I hope that news of this incident will awaken people to the nuances of burqa-wearing, because I cannot bear one more ignorant comment from a white person about how “Islam oppresses women”. Attempts to control what women wear are oppressive and ridiculous no matter whether people are trying to force them to wear more or less. Full stop.

Forcing a woman not to wear a burqa is just as bad as forcing her to wear a burqa.

Why I Am Uncomfortable Labeling Myself ‘Feminist’

Certain second-wavers would have it that I don’t use the word “feminist” too much because I am weak, or afraid to use it, or have given in to some sort of societal pressure not to stand up for women’s issues.

Wouldn’t you know that my fraught relationship with that word is the result of self-education, listening to the voices of marginalized women, and a large amount of introspection? You see, I was able to use my own brain power to autonomously decide “feminist” is problematic, just like any normal human being!

Here is why.

To wit, “feminism” has become so closely allied with, and claimed by, women of privilege that to claim it would be a vote of support for privileged (mostly Western, white, middle-upper class, heterosexual) women and against the repeatedly expressed concerns of the rest of us: trans women, queer women, poor and low-income women, women of color, non-Western women, differently-abled women.

I haven’t just seen this on the blogosphere, in the various wars where WOC critique white feminists’ passive racism, and a bunch of white self-described feminists leap into the breach to try and silence the WOC voices and validate the white ones. I have seen this in real non-computer-mediated life. I have literally observed white feminists deliberately push women of color back to the margins just as the WOC are trying to push to the center. I have seen queer women’s specific needs regarding sexuality, relationship formation, and child-care sidelined as less important. And etcetera.

I have seen white feminists get angry at the suggestion that power within this supposedly all-inclusive women’s movement be shared. Race is a separate issue, a distraction from the sisterhood, they say. So is disability. So is recognizing the very different life experiences of women from different social classes.

It is almost too painful to even discuss what cisgendered feminists say about trans women. Let’s just say that the majority of cisgendered feminists aren’t at all convinced that trans women’s issues are worth a modicum of their time.

I can’t use the word feminism anymore without thinking about all of this. The liberation of privileged white women has little to do with my liberation. Until feminists realize that “[their] liberation is bound up with mine” I don’t have much motivation to join their exclusive movement.

Please read this article at the Guardian to get the perspective of a woman of color on this matter.

Saudi Women Fighting Back Against Religious Police

Don’t trivialize it by calling it a “trend”, but it looks like some women are getting a little sick of the paternal faux-piety of the morality police, aka the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

In the first incident, according to the Saudi Gazette, a young couple “appeared to be acting in an inappropriate manner” in an amusement park. A commission member who spotted them suspected they were not married or related and were therefore breaking the law. As the commission member approached them, the young man collapsed – presumably out of shock or fright – but the woman showered him with punches. He was taken to a medical centre to be treated for bruises. In the second incident, which the LA Times calls an unprecedented outburst, a woman caught in “illegal seclusion” with a man shot at the religious police when questioned.

Some other interesting signs of change:

Princess Basma bint Saud, “a social activist and a prominent supporter of women’s issues in Saudi Arabia”, published a strong critique of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

King Abdallah appeared in a photograph with forty women with naked faces! “Most observers took it as a pointed message from the royals on the subject of men mixing with women…”

Earlier this month Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah declared that women could teach boys’ primary school classes.

Mecca cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi publicly “declared that nothing in Islam bans men and women from mixing in public places like schools and offices.”

Last December Saudi journalist Nadine Al Bedair published the article Me and My Four Husbands, a tongue in cheek critique of sexism and unequal polygamy laws.

In 2009 Nora Al Fayez became the first female deputy minister in the Saudi government.

Kansas Governor Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill

Kansas State Rep Lance Kinzer (et al)’s weird anti-abortion bill has been vetoed by governor Mark Parkinson. HALLELUJAH!

The bill would have eliminated threats to mental health as an acceptable reason to obtain a late-term abortion and forced doctors to hand over medical details about women receiving late-term abortion to politicians. Another part of “pro-life” attempts at chipping away women’s medical rights and bodily autonomy.

On a different note, how come every article about stupid anti-abortion antics has to include 1.) a quote from someone representing a wacko pro-life agency and 2.) someone from Planned Parenthood? Well, I guess Missouri is changing the standards, since the article under discussion was printed in the redoubtable bastion of unbiased journalism, the Kansas City Star, it only contains quotes from the Kansans for Life wacko and from the pro-life politician, Kinzer. Bleh.

UPDATE 5/5/10: On the second try, the Kansas Legislature overrode the veto. On to the Senate…

Mental Health Attacked as Reason for Abortion in Kansas

Sigh. Yet again, tiresome Kansas State Representative Lance Kinzer, a man, is leading the way in attempts to restrict women’s reproductive choices and her decisions regarding her own health.

His current hobby horse is finding ever-more invasive and paternalistic ways to take away women’s ability to obtain late-term abortion. He has found that outlawing late-term abortion altogether won’t fly, because then some women who need such abortions merely to survive might die, and he’d have a PR nightmare on his hands.

So he has refocused on eliminating the mental health exception to the general late-term abortion ban (late-term abortions are banned in Kansas except for “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”). Mental health has been ruled by courts as possibly meeting this exception, and Kinzer is incensed.

From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

Kinzer argued that getting rid of the mental health exception fit with the state’s “legitimate interest in protecting life.”

“What we have here is a baby, a baby if given the chance would be able to live on its own outside its mothers’ womb,” Kinzer said.

What about the state’s interest in protecting the life of the woman, you idiot!? AAAAArg.

Oh, but friend-of-women Kinzer isn’t done yet. Oh no, he and his pals have more ideas about how they can improve women’s lives by intruding into their personal business and restricting their medical options.

From the Wichita Eagle:

[A] second proposal would require doctors to provide an exact medical diagnosis justifying a late-term abortion in their reports to the state.

It also would allow a woman or her family to sue a doctor if there was evidence that her late-term abortion violated the law.

Nice guys. Real nice. Totally constitutional. I, for one, would relish the opportunity to report ALL my doctor’s visits to the state! Because my health and the medical procedures I undergo are totally the proper business of Lance Kinzer, et al. So can we work on making this bill equal? I have a feeling men are going to really pissed to so be cavalierly left out of this life-protecting measure. What’s good for the gander is good for the goose, no?

Unspeakable Rage

I am almost too upset about this to even write about it. So I’ll let Jaclyn Friedman do most of the talking via the Nation:

On Sunday, as nearly 100 million Americans gather to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, they’ll be treated to something they’re probably not expecting: an ad speaking out against abortion. The spot, produced by the extreme right-wingers at Focus on the Family, features Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, who claims she was advised by doctors to abort fetal Tim but “chose life” instead.

Let us not forget that last week CBS turned down an ad for ManCrunch, a gay dating site for men. While ManCrunch is simply a product, and CBS traditionally takes ads for whichever products are willing to pay for them, the ad was turned down. On the other hand, CBS has a history of turning down “advocacy ads”, which the FoF ad is. WHAT THE FUCK. Why is CBS using this bully pulpit to indoctrinate men further with dreams of a stronger, better patriarchy?

I hate life right now. Go read the whole Nation article by Jaclyn Friedman, but here are two more of her thoughts from the article.

[T]he Focus on the Family ad [is] thirty seconds of squeaky-clean “family values” that make the astonishing claim that women shouldn’t have abortions because they might be gestating a future male sports star. There’s a lot wrong with this argument, not the least of which is the statistical reality that it’s significantly more likely that women who choose to carry their fetuses to term will give birth to rapists or murderers than to Heisman Trophy winners.


The ad becomes even more disturbing when we consider who it’s trying to reach. Assuming that Focus on the Family operates with the same mindset as most Super Bowl advertisers (and there’s really no evidence to suggest otherwise), it’s also safe to assume that men are one of the primary targets of this spot. So now what we’ve got is an ad telling men that it’s wrong for women to abort their potential children, lest those children not get the chance to grow up to be famous quarterbacks who paint Scripture references into their eyeblack.

10% of British Men Have Paid for Sex

One in ten huh.

From the article:

The figure emerged in a Home Office study aimed at helping lawmakers deal with the world’s oldest profession.

Let me revise that for you:

The figure emerged in a Home Office study aimed at reducing men’s criminal exploitation of women for sex.

There, that’s better. It is just so weird that conversations about prostitution never seem to mention men. Prostitution wouldn’t exist without johns.

Kansas Lawmakers Plan to Restrict Late Abortion, Despite Absence Of Late Abortion in State

Lance KinzerYou know if Kansas State Rep Lance Kinzer is involved, it’s going to be good. I get more material for this blog from my google alert out on him than from any other single source.

So it is with an air of comfortable familiarity that I relate to you his plans to chip away at women’s ability to access late term abortions in Kansas, despite the fact that a psychotic killer already murdered the only person who provided them in the state. (Just to be clear, late term abortions are already restricted to women who need them to prevent serious bodily harm or death, along with a variety of even less sensical restrictions.)

The Lawrence Journal-World:

Tiller was the face of the abortion debate in Kansas — and sometimes nationally — because his Wichita clinic was among a few in the U.S. performing abortions in the last weeks of pregnancy. Tiller’s clinic has been closed since he was shot to death in May and no doctor or clinic elsewhere in Kansas is doing the same work.

But legislators who oppose abortion still expect to pass a bill requiring doctors who perform late-term procedures to report more information to the state and making it possible for them to face lawsuits if patients or others come to believe their abortions violated state law. Abortion opponents contend such issues are still compelling, even if no doctor or clinic is performing abortions as late as Tiller did.

So saving imaginary pre-born patriots is more “compelling” than dealing with Kansas’ multitude of non-imaginary problems, like poverty, foreclosures, homelessness, drug addiction, the disappearance of small farmers as factory farming takes over, de-facto racial segregation, unemployment, lack of public transportation, massive budget shortfalls, waterway pollution, religious intolerance, and etc.

Fascinating, Lance.

Some abortion rights supporters had hoped for a break from the Legislature’s perennial debates over abortion because of lingering revulsion over Tiller’s murder, including among many abortion opponents.

Ha! How amusingly naïve.

“There’s nobody in the state of Kansas who’s doing abortions past 22 weeks of pregnancy. It’s a moot issue,” said Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

“Hijacking Abortion Rights Through the Health Care Bill”

“The hijacking of abortion rights as a bargaining chip for the provision of health care is morally reprehensible and if it stands will result in significant harms to women’s health. As women’s health advocates are working full tilt to try to stop this from happening, there is an uncomfortable sense of having been here before. How is it possible that we have to fight for the right to choose to have an abortion all over again?”

-Lucinda Marshall, writing at Counterpunch

“Me & My Four Husbands”

This is the title of Saudi journalist Nadine Al Bedair’s Dec. 11th article in the Egyptian independent daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. Interestingly, their English language site does not include a translation of the article, but Muslimah Media Watch provides the first couple paragraphs in English, and after which the story was apparently picked up by the LA Times, nearly a month after the original article was published.

Al Bedair’s words have caused quite a stir, as you can see at Muslimah Media Watch.

Here’s the translation of the beginning of the article that MMW posted to their site:
Nadine Al Bedair

Allow me to choose four, five or even nine men, just as my wildest imagination shall chose.

I’ll pick them with different shapes and sizes, one of them will be dark and the other will be blonde. Tall or maybe short, they are to be Chosen from different denominations, religions, races and nations. And I promise you there will be harmony.

Create a brand new positive law for me, or may be a divine one. Make me a new law under the umbrella of the fatwa and fantasies, those which you unanimously agree on suddenly and without any advance notice.

Other media coverage of this story (note that America was a tad late on this boat):

The Guardian: Polygamy for all (Written by a male, starts out with a sexist cliche, and continues on to miss the entire point of Al Bedair’s article. But shockingly he isn’t against her. Whatever.)

Bikya Masr: Egypt: women should have right to polygamy article causes stir

Elan: Polygamy for Chicks: Saving Spinster Men Everywhere (I see they borrowed their idea for their news graphic from shitty gay marriage news stories.)

Al Arabiya: Egypt paper promotes polygamy for women (One article subheading is “Destroying Society”.)

Christmas Miracle: General Rescinds Order to Punish Pregnant Soldiers

This is the awesomest news graphic I have seen in a long time:

Hilarious pregnant soldier graphic

But, really, this is a Christmas Miracle: Top U.S. General in Iraq, Countermanding Subordinate, Rescinds Order to Punish Pregnant Soldiers

The top U.S. commander in Iraq rescinded a controversial order by a subordinate general intended to punish soldiers who became pregnant while serving in a war zone.

Gen. Raymond Odierno has drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, but which does not include a provision issued last month by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo that disciplined both soldiers who became pregnant and their military sex partners.

The “discipline” would include court-martialling and possible jail time. For being pregnant in a military rife with rape and very supportive of rape culture and rapists.

But Cucolo is unrepentant:

“Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status — or contributes to doing that to another — is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos, ‘I will always place the mission first,’ or three of our seven core values: loyalty, duty and selfless service,” he continued. “And I believe there should be negative consequences for making that personal choice. “

I don’t know about you, but personally, I love the “punish the sluts with a baby” school of thought.

Senators spoke out in a letter to Cucolo:

“We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child. This defies comprehension. As such, we urge you to immediately rescind this policy.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

Cucolo said the Army does not provide emergency contraception or abortive services and does not intend to start.

There’s “only discussion about appropriate behavior and consideration of the impact of getting pregnant, of getting someone pregnant,” he said. “That’s the only discussion that’s taken place. Nothing about pills.”

So, if his only concern is keeping troops on the ground, as he claims, why not provide EC? Oh, right, because his real concern is shaming women, not “supporting the troops.” Huh.


Conservatives Scared of Imagined “Terrorist Transvestites”

Rob Long, at the Wall Street Journal, is concerned that the world may no longer be able to protect itself from terrorist transvestites.

His hilarious fear stems from a UN report notable for its nuance and sensitivity towards people who find themselves marginalized due to their gender expression.

Martin Scheinin, UN Special Rapporteur, wrote a report for the UN General Assembly titled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism”.

In it, he makes ‘controversial’ statements like:

Gender is not synonymous with women but rather encompasses the social constructions that underlie how women’s and men’s roles, functions and responsibilities, including in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, are defined and understood. This report will therefore identify the gendered impact of counter-terrorism measures both on women and men, as well as the rights of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. As a social construct, gender is also informed by, and intersects with, various other means by which roles, functions and responsibilities are perceived and practiced, such as race, ethnicity, culture, religion and class. Consequently, gender is not static; it is changeable over time and across contexts. Understanding gender as a social and shifting construct rather than as a biological and fixed category is important because it helps to identify the complex and inter-related gender-based human rights violations caused by counterterrorism measures; to understand the underlying causes of these violations; and to design strategies for countering terrorism that are truly non-discriminatory and inclusive of all actors.

Continue reading

State Sanctioned Misogyny Quite Popular in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a wretched track record when it comes to women’s bodily autonomy. I have written about the law requiring doctors to show them “the baby” on their ultrasound, the law forcing extra medical penetration on women seeking abortion, and the fact that OK allows health insurance agencies to deny medical coverage to women who have been victims of domestic violence.

Anyways, get ready for more of the same.

As of November 1, doctors in Oklahoma will be compelled — under penalty of criminal prosecution — to post the details of each abortion they perform online. Among the details to be posted for every abortion is the patient’s age, marital status and race; her financial condition; her education; and the total number of her previous pregnancies.

This amazing piece of law-making is called the Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act. Women must answer 37 personal questions about themselves that would, though names won’t be posted, make it easy to identify many of the women who get abortions in Oklahoma.

No reason. Oklahoma just wants to know. Or wait, no, that’s not right, Oklahoma is Just Doing It For Women’s Own Good. Because women benefit by… uh… alright, I can’t find even a facetious reason for Oklahoma to do this.

We have two men to thank for this “common-sense legislation” (their term): Republican Senator Todd Lamb and Republican Representative Dan Sullivan.
Todd LambDan Sullivan

You can contact Mr. Lamb here.

You can contact Mr. Sullivan here.

Mike the Mad Biologist has an excellent suggestion: “Why don’t we just tattoo a Scarlett “A” on their foreheads?”

Thank the Lord two women are suing the state, Lora Joyce Davis and former state Rep. Wanda Jo Stapleton, with the help of the Center for Reproductive Rights. I’m sure CRR could use your support right now.

Rachel Maddow recently did a show on this very issue.

My Crime Is Biking While Female (and living in a classist, racist nation)

Last night, I rode my bike home from an event a couple miles from my house.

It was nearly 2 am and I had some concerns about drunk drivers. I turned down a driveway passage that leads between some public housing complexes near my house to avoid the cars racing up and down the major roads.

As I was riding through the central courtyard, I noticed a group of rather large men, dressed all in black, standing together at one end.

As I passed them, they took note of my presence and started shouting at me. They yelled out “HEY!” several times and demanded that I stop and talk with them.

It took me zero seconds to decide that would be a piss poor idea and to peddle all the faster. Usually ignoring such attention from men and leaving the area quickly is enough.

Not this time. I realized one of the men was literally chasing me. I was overwhelmed with fear. I didn’t even want to imagine what a cluster of five men hanging out in a dark corner at 2 am and shouting at women would want with me. My whole body went cold and I peddled as fast as I could, aiming for the bright lights of the nearest busy street.

I heard one of the men shout “Police!” and thought maybe a police officer was coming to the rescue.

Oh how wrong I was.

Because these men were the police.

That realization did not make me feel any better. I quickly assessed my options and decided to stop before any guns were drawn. Though I experience white skin privilege, the police in my neighborhood are so accustomed to abusing the marginalized communities here that I believed white privilege wouldn’t overcome their “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.

The five police officers approached and surrounded me. Up close I could see that their dark clothing was black or navy uniforms with policey-decorations on them. They were all white, which I thought was odd for this majority-POC neighborhood. They demanded to know what I was doing in “the projects”. I responded that I was riding my bike home, and that the complexes were between my starting point and destination. They told me that this is a “high crime area” and that I “shouldn’t be around here”. I informed them that that was unreasonable because I live “around here”. That sounding deeply implausible, the leader demanded my ID and accused me of fleeing the police. He and three officers went a few paces away and huddled, speaking in low tones, for the next 15 minutes. One officer was left to monitor me.

I was thoroughly frightened and confused. I had only planned on a quick 10-minute bikeride from hanging out with friends to my home. Being shouted at, chased, and surrounded by a group of five big-bodied men… it hadn’t really occurred to me as a possibility. I expressed my confusion at this turn of the events and questioned my detention. They told me to wait.

Eventually, the leader of the group stalked up to me and in a raised, aggressive voice informed me that I was charged with disorderly conduct and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. He informed me that I had known all along they were police, that I had shouted insults at them, and that I had deliberately tried to flee them.

This was, of course, news to me. I explained that when I pass noisy groups of men who shout at me in dark passages in the wee hours, it is simply a matter of survival that I get out of the situation, and that any woman in my place would do the same. He repeated that I had known they were police and had intentionally committed this crime.

He handed me the tickets and I got out of there fast. I have never felt so unsafe in my own neighborhood. I have never been harassed in this manner in my neighborhood before. I feel thankful that I came out of the situation with my life. That may be my white privilege. Around here, as around the country, police have a reputation for murdering black people. They murdered one man earlier this summer for the crime of being on his porch and telling a disguised under-cover cop to stop loitering on his property. He was killed in his own front doorway.

Some other reflections:

1. All this shouting and chasing and harassing was in the courtyard of a large housing complex full of families. I am talking hundreds of people. How safe can they feel when police officers are loitering outside of their homes screaming at the top of their lungs at every passer-by? Especially when this community, being low income and of color and partly immigrant, is already subject to excessive amounts of police harassment?

2. My own white privilege was revealed to me as I came to realize that this is what my neighbors experience every day, and that I usually escape it. It’s possible that the same darkness that prevented me from seeing the police uniforms prevented them from seeing my skin tone. They may have planned on harassing a public housing resident of color, and I just blundered into the situation by assuming that I can go wherever I want without police harassment. The fact that I never realized how police interactions interlace the daily lives of my neighbors is a wake up call for me.

3. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THOSE OFFICERS? How dare they harass a woman who is traveling alone at night in an isolated location away from any busy roads (where there would be witnesses and the potential to call for help)? Are they out of their minds? How can they be so blind to their male privilege and the legitimacy privilege of possessing state power? Could they really not see why the situation they chose to create was a terrifying nightmare-scenario for their victim? How in the world is public safety achieved by men shouting at and chasing women in the night? I have never felt so unsafe in my neighborhood as I do now. My neighbors haven’t ever done anything to make me feel unsafe, and so until now I had no fears. The behavior of these men was so egregious that I believe it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find similar instances perpetrated by the supposedly dangerous inhabitants of the public housing buildings.

4. Essentially, my crime here is that I was biking while female. I acted as any rational women would react in this situation. For my natural behaviors of simply trying to survive on the street, I actually have to be a defendant in court.

5. I want to state clearly that this is an intersection of institutional and state classism and racism, and that I will not be accepting comments to the effect of “Oh you’re so naive to live near public housing and/or to think good on your neighbors.” Those comments would be classist and racist and that’s not what this post is here to talk about. Why would I be the “naive white girl” to live near these apartments, but the residents are “hardened black criminals” simply for residing inside the same apartments I live next to? The location of your home does not define you as a criminal or not, nor does your skin color nor your poverty. I guess I should say “should not” instead of “does not”. We all know that people of color, public housing residents, immigrants, and poor people are criminalized simply for existing as such.


Share your stories of police harassment if you like. NO RACISM & NO POOR-BASHING.

Pennsylvania-Style Misogyny

Hey, haven’t had enough woman-hating in your day?  How about a little tried-and-true misogyny, NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania) style, thoughtfully published in a major (relatively-speaking) Wilkes-Barre, PA newspaper called the Times Leader:

James HolevaThink of the cash your parents are laying down for your “education” as an unlimited account to the Bunny Ranch. If you have trouble charming chicks, that means it’s time for a little sorostitution. You won’t have to worry about c–k blocking yourself with meaningless chit-chat in the presence of sorority girls. They’re usually too wasted to require any sort of legitimate connection.

…All sororities invite a few less attractive girls to pledge in order to make the hotties feel better about themselves. The Ugly Sister will be available and vulnerable.

Written by someone named James Holeva. AH! His name is uncomfortably similar to mine. If you, ahem, enjoyed his article, he invites you to contact him at his facebook page.  If Facebook is accurate, you can see him depicted on the right.

I’m kind of in shock that a legitimate newspaper published that bullshit.  Not okay.  If you want to contact the Times Leader, you can do so here.