Surprising (perhaps) data from the US on the numbers of women in prison. (Aside: the title of the infographic above is misleading – numerically, yes, the USA seems to incarcerate more women than anywhere else in the world but that is because of its huge population where the numbers will play out like that. Proportionally, though, it is behind Thailand and Vietnam and running close to Russia and the Philippines. And figuring that out exercised my non-quantitative brain in ways that I didn’t want this Wednesday morning.) In any case, one-third of the world’s female prison population is incarcerated in the US and it’s worth looking at the reasons for that. The main reason, it seems, for the rapid increase in women in prison in the US (the number of women in prison in the US is growing faster than the number of men in prison, apparently) is the prison-happy war on drugs. Quote: “For one, [women] have always been more likely to get locked up for drug-related charges: By 2009, 25.7% of women were in jail on drug offenses versus 17.2% of men.” 
Worrying stuff. More on the link: mic.com.

Surprising (perhaps) data from the US on the numbers of women in prison. (Aside: the title of the infographic above is misleading – numerically, yes, the USA seems to incarcerate more women than anywhere else in the world but that is because of its huge population where the numbers will play out like that. Proportionally, though, it is behind Thailand and Vietnam and running close to Russia and the Philippines. And figuring that out exercised my non-quantitative brain in ways that I didn’t want this Wednesday morning.) In any case, one-third of the world’s female prison population is incarcerated in the US and it’s worth looking at the reasons for that. The main reason, it seems, for the rapid increase in women in prison in the US (the number of women in prison in the US is growing faster than the number of men in prison, apparently) is the prison-happy war on drugs. Quote: “For one, [women] have always been more likely to get locked up for drug-related charges: By 2009, 25.7% of women were in jail on drug offenses versus 17.2% of men.” 

Worrying stuff. More on the link: mic.com.

The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour

I’m not sure that anyone who has seen/ read Belle du Jour would think that it’s a realistic portrayal of sex work (as a student or otherwise) but in case you do, here are some first-hand accounts, and facts and figures, to challenge that belief:

“I hate the word prostitute – when you think of a prostitute you think of someone on the street who is causing a public nuisance. I’m not: I do my course, I volunteer, I don’t do drugs. I’m a normal person.”

Sophie* is 22, studying at university and paying for it through sex work. She defines herself as an escort. Her student loan doesn’t cover her accommodation and living costs, and her intensive five-year course does not allow for casual work shifts.

“I don’t like reading newspapers about how there’s student sex workers and they’re just doing it to pay for their course fees. They just make it look either far too easy or far too sleazy. There’s no middle ground.”

Sophie’s experience is worryingly not uncommon, with research suggesting that as many as six per cent of students may become involved in sex work at some point during their studies.

[…] There is no safety net. “I think it’s hard to…you can pull out every stop to make sure you are going to be ok, and it just doesn’t always work that way. You think its ok, and it’s not,” she said.

There’s a long pause. Eventually she says: “It has happened but, I don’t know, it’s part of the job really, it’s a risk.”

Rest: The Independent.

why are you a feminist? © rebeccacohenart.tumblr.comon anonymous was a woman: pinterest: feimineach

why are you a feminist?
© rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com
on anonymous was a woman: pinterest: feimineach

#microaggression.
on pinterest: feimineach/ i’m not gonna lie.
Those three problems — women being threatened, women being pressured to change their own behavior to avoid sexual assault, and women being told that they don’t deserve protection unless they stay pure and ladylike — are all individually terrible. But together, they add up to something even worse: a vicious cycle that pressures women out of public life. When we tell women that the threats and attacks they experience are their own fault, for failing to be sufficiently chaste or failing to take “responsible” precautions, we are telling them that they are on their own: that they cannot rely on society’s protection against those crimes. How many women hear that message and decide that they have no choice but to give up that activist campaign or to turn down that higher-profile job or to hold off on writing that article?
Many women, I think, resist feminism because it is an agony to be fully conscious of the brutal misogyny which permeates culture, society, and all personal relationships.

Andrea Dworkin, Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics (via staininyourbrain)

I often say: I wish I didn’t know what I know.

The Dating Game: Sluts Don't Get to Be Happy

This post from Bitch Mag. is from ages ago but it’s so well done that it never gets old. No ring for you, you slutty slut!

NO RING FOR YOU!

Who would want the cow when he can have the milk for free, we’re told (because, like cows, we women apparently have no intrinsic value—we’re just about what we can provide for others). No man would want a pre-used vagina forever when he can till that earth himself for the first time without wondering if someone else had a bigger plow or a surer hand. “Sluts” (you know, women who have sex) are either incapable of love, or incapable of being loved—or both, really. Sluts are insecure women who constantly seek self-esteem through multiple dickings when everyone knows that real self-esteem comes from keeping your legs closed. And if you had the audacity to sleep with someone else’s boyfriend or someone else’s husband, of course you’re a tempting slut that he just couldn’t resist and it’s all your fault and karma will getcha and slut slut slut slut slut.

Think all of that is bullshit? Slut.

Rest: bitchmagazine.

“[…] Sexist assumptions underwrite these revolting ads: self-esteem is a zero-sum game; the key to feeling good is feeling pretty; you are always in competition with other women for male attention; standard beauty is the only way to be “hot;” women are commodities that you can “get” and trade; and so on. You know the drill; we’ve all been living it all our lives.”
From: kateharding.
This is how the patriarchy and the beauty ideal collude: we are supposed to see these women and be so stunned that they aren’t thin, white, blonde, able-bodied, and perfectly symmetrical that we can only call them ugly. We’re supposed to look at these pictures and say “At least I’m prettier than her.” We’re supposed to view our female friends as accessories in our true life goal, which is to look hot for men. There are hot women, and there are ugly women, and if you’re not the hottest woman in the room, you’re automatically the ugliest.
The appalling part of these ads is not the women; it’s the blatant misogyny. Once you take off your Patriarchy Blinders (patent pending), the charge of “ugly” doesn’t even begin to make sense. If you saw these pictures without any text surrounding them, what would you think of these women? Even with the pernicious text framing them as objects of derision, this ad doesn’t work on mehttp://feimineach.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=2132525160&type=image&TB_iframe=1: these women are straight-up pretty. Pretty, stylish, and flirty even. I guess they have some of that self-esteem that’s been going around lately.

From: kateharding.

“[…] Sexist assumptions underwrite these revolting ads: self-esteem is a zero-sum game; the key to feeling good is feeling pretty; you are always in competition with other women for male attention; standard beauty is the only way to be “hot;” women are commodities that you can “get” and trade; and so on. You know the drill; we’ve all been living it all our lives.”

From: kateharding.

This is how the patriarchy and the beauty ideal collude: we are supposed to see these women and be so stunned that they aren’t thin, white, blonde, able-bodied, and perfectly symmetrical that we can only call them ugly. We’re supposed to look at these pictures and say “At least I’m prettier than her.” We’re supposed to view our female friends as accessories in our true life goal, which is to look hot for men. There are hot women, and there are ugly women, and if you’re not the hottest woman in the room, you’re automatically the ugliest.

The appalling part of these ads is not the women; it’s the blatant misogyny. Once you take off your Patriarchy Blinders (patent pending), the charge of “ugly” doesn’t even begin to make sense. If you saw these pictures without any text surrounding them, what would you think of these women? Even with the pernicious text framing them as objects of derision, this ad doesn’t work on mehttp://feimineach.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=2132525160&type=image&TB_iframe=1: these women are straight-up pretty. Pretty, stylish, and flirty even. I guess they have some of that self-esteem that’s been going around lately.

From: kateharding.

compare. 
on anonymous was a woman: pinterest: feimineach

compare.
on anonymous was a woman: pinterest: feimineach

'Sex' doesn't sell. Erosion of female self esteem does. The feeling of superiority over women does. Turning women into 'things' to be studied, scrutinized & judged and then calling it 'sex' does.

Sex doesn’t sell. Objectification does

Sadiqa Thornton (via female-only)

Gender movie study: Film industry discriminates against women

Here’s more evidence than you could shake a stick at that there is gender bias in film. (Well, that probably depends on your stick, but it’s convincing me.) The Geena Davies Inst. has done a study which examined 120 films and 5800 speaking or named characters to check it out. The findings on numbers:

Women were grossly underrepresented in terms of sheer numbers […] and only a third of the characters from the movies were women. The researchers also narrowed in on films by genre: Action/adventure movies are typically among the highest-grossingand rarely include many female rolesresulting in few women making meaningful appearances in the most popular movies. Overall, some countries performed more poorly than others: Among the 526 characters from the French films, there were zero female leads or co-leads.

In terms of portrayal, fewer women characters are working (than in the general population) and those who are working are less less likely to be in “prestigious” positions:

Working female characters were also hard to come by. Less than a fourth of all characters with jobs were female, while in reality women represent 40 percent of the global workforce. Beyond that, very few female characters held powerful roles in any field; leadership and “prestigious” positions, like judges, doctors, executives, and professors, skewed overwhelmingly male. Only 10 percent of workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields were women, as compared to about 25% in actuality.

The focus, also, is on women characters’ appearance:

More than just discrimination in their employment, female characters were constantly fielding comments about their appearance. Remarks and reactions“verbal/ nonverbal utterances”to looks or desirability were, globally, five times as likely to be targeted toward female characters than their male counterparts; as the researchers wrote, “No matter the territory, female characters cannot escape an emphasis on appearance.”

When the researchers examined nudity, objectification and sexualisation, they found that:

[…] in the German films, 40 percent of all female characters wore revealing clothing (defined as “tight and alluring”). In American films, for comparison, 29 percent of the female characters were scantily clad. And in perhaps the most disturbing finding, teenage girls as young as 13 were as likely to be sexualized as women in their thirties.

Emphasis added there.

Finally, on the disparity between male and female directors, the researchers found that “79 percent of directors, writers, and producers were male“. And perhaps least surprisngly of all, the study also revealed that films with a female filmmaker are less likely to be sexist (though possibly only marginally): with a female filmmaker, the number of female characters jumps by 6.8 percent”.

On: newrepublic.

An Open Letter To All Men Concerning #YesAllWomen

Guy writes about what he and other men can do to (1) stop reacting to women’s stories of violence and fear of violence with the “not all men/ not me” auto-response and (2) work towards challenging violence against women and the victim-blaming that surrounds it. Guy is hit with comments from men saying “NOT ALL MEN/ NOT ME”, arguing that women have too many of them there “blurred lines” anyway, and claiming that men can do nothing any more because of that FEMINISM. Sometimes you couldn’t even make the internet up.

On thoughtcatalog:

Let’s talk for just a moment about this #YesAllWomen thing. To be honest, when I first read it, I did what a lot of you did. I got defensive. The reason why is because I don’t rape women, I don’t look down on anyone, and I try to be respectful to everyone. So when I see women talking about living in fear it doesn’t register with me right away because I’m not someone that tries to inflict that fear.

The problem is that so many guys that feel this way don’t say, “hmm, what can I do to help this situation?” Instead, they get online and try to convince women that their feelings are false or that it’s their own fault for being fearful. That’s not helping. There are also men who have been attacked, abused, and live in fear. We all know this, but here’s what you have to realize:

It’s #YesAllWomen, not #YesAllWomenAndNoManWhatsoever.

Sure, there are males that experience this, but that doesn’t somehow negate the fact that all women do as well. I don’t understand why raising awareness of women’s rights makes men feel the need to say “well, it’s hard for me, too!” It’s not a contest. Sometimes it’s good to just listen instead of trying to convince those speaking that it’s just as bad for you. It’s like if your parents died and you started sharing deep personal feelings of how it affected you. Imagine doing that and someone says “well, a lot of other people lost their parents too, and their story is just as bad!”

Rest: thoughtcatalog.

How Many Women are in Prison for Defending Themselves Against Domestic Violence? (US)

More than you’d think. Maybe.

We know Marissa Alexander’s name, but there are countless other abuse survivors behind prison walls whose names and stories we do not know. We actually do not know how many women are imprisoned for defending themselves against their abusers. No agency or organization seems to keep track of this information. Prison systems do not. Court systems do not. The U.S. Department of Justice has some data on intimate partner violence, but not about how often this violence is a significant factor in the woman’s incarceration. In California, a prison study found that 93 percent of the women who had killed their significant others had been abused by them. That study found that 67 percent of those women reported that they had been attempting to protect themselves or their children when they wound up killing their partner. In New York State, 67 percent of women sent to prison for killing someone close to them were abused by that person. But these are just two specific studies; no governmental agency collects data on how frequently abuse plays a direct role to prison nationwide.

[…] I recently interviewed several domestic violence survivors imprisoned for defending themselves. Each woman reported that she had defended herself only after repeatedly trying to seeking help—unsuccessfully. One woman recalled that police would drive by as her boyfriend beat her on the street. Most of the time, they ignored the violence and continued to drive. When she called the police, they arrived and did nothing. The one time police did arrest her boyfriend, it was not for attacking her, but for having illegal drug paraphernalia. He was held overnight, then allowed to return home to continue his abuse.

Another woman told me that she had called the police on several occasions. Each time, officers simply took her boyfriend out of their apartment, talked with him, and then allowed him to return. The beatings and abuse continued. She filed for and received an order of protection, which he repeatedly violated. She tried calling domestic violence hotlines. One told her that, to receive assistance, she would have to go in person to their organization. Another did not return her phone calls.

A third woman was in an even more precarious situation. Because her abuser was a police officer, she felt that she had nowhere to turn for protection. He repeatedly told her, “You can’t call the police. I am the police.” When she called a domestic violence hotline, they told her that she was in the worst situation possible; in addition to keeping guns in the house, her husband’s profession meant that he could access records to find out where she was even if she did leave. They advised her to start saving money and to keep her important papers in one place in case she ever had to flee.

Rest: bitchmagazine.

It is physically and emotionally draining to be called upon to prove that these systems of power exist. For many of us, just struggling against them is enough — now you want us to break them down for you? Imagine having weights tied to your feet and a gag around your mouth, and then being asked to explain why you think you are at an unfair disadvantage. Imagine watching a video where a young man promises to kill women who chose not to sleep with him and then being forced to engage with the idea that maybe you are just a hysterical feminist seeing misogyny where there is none. It is incredibly painful to feel that in order for you to care about my safety, I have to win this verbal contest you have constructed “for fun.”

Juliana Britto, feministing.

Amen that there.

New report slams Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for secrecy around harassment of women online

First, sorry for silence. Term is about to start here again and I have been busy as anything. Also: socialisng, natch.

So, a new report (Washington Post) slams twitter, facebook and youtube for their lack of transparency around, and measures to deal with, online abuse against women. I find it interesting that the report is most damning about the secrecy of the three companies rather than, say, what they do to curb/ address abuse on their sites. The latter seems more pressing. In any case, the responsiveness to the needs of non-white women on all three platforms, and the steps taken to respond to abuse on twitter and youtbue, all got a big ol’ F. Could try harder, indeed.

Major American tech companies regularly publish “transparency” statistics on things such as how many items they take down for copyright violations and how often the government requests user data.

But according to a scathing new report, when it comes to user abuse on their platforms — an issue that has seen an explosion of interest and concern over the past 12 months — social networks remain obstinately, even disingenuously, mum.

The report, which was released as part of the Association for Progressive Communications’ “Take Back the Tech” campaign and funded in part by the Dutch government, analyzed Twitter, Facebook and YouTube’s user policies and their public response to international abuse incidents over the past five years.