Misogyny in the USA, Men bounce back from the “mancession” & Media-driven body dissatisfaction

The following links come from an email alert from The Women’s Media Center.

Misogyny Cuts Across All Cultures: Oppression in the West and Arab World
2/20/2011
Huffington Post:Are women in the Arab world “worse-off” than in the West? An editorial examines the ways in which oppression and misogyny cut across every culture, and how media handles the issue.

Excerpt:

I do not want to live in a country that forces me to smother myself in veils, a country that threatens me with violence for an inch of visible wrist, a country that does not allow me to vote or drive.

For the record, I also do not feel safe in a country with a House of Representatives that is capable of canceling all funding for Planned Parenthood — which happened in the House just a day ago. I do not feel safe knowing that in South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care to women.

The state legislature of Georgia would like to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking and domestic violence to “accuser” — in effect, denying victims their right to accurate representation by description.

In Congress, Republicans have put forward a bill that would force hospitals to let a woman die rather than perform an abortion that would save her life.

Programs for low-income women and children are being slashed left and right and MoveOn reports that there is a move to eliminate all funding for the only extant federal family planning program — though there is a bill that promotes contraception for wild horses. (For human women, they are neigh-sayers.)

Misogyny keeps this country’s brutality to women — rape, murder and domestic violence — at staggering levels, along with the pitched battle against a woman’s right to control her own body, her right to choose.

That women often do not support each other or offer sympathy for abusive treatment of other women is indeed part of the problem — witness the reaction of some female journalists to the attack on Lara Logan.

Men bounce back faster from recession’s unequal blows
2/21/2011
Miami Herald: After the recession of the late 2000s, the early stages of the economic recovery are benefitting men far more than women. While men have gained438,000 jobs since June 2009, women have lost 366,000 over the same period.

African-American Women Less Vulnerable to Media-Driven Body Dissatisfaction
2/21/2011
University of Florida News: As National Eating Disorders Awareness Week gets underway, a University of Florida researchers emphasizes a 2010 study that shows African-American women are less susceptible to pressure from mainstream media about their body image.

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More on women and journalism…

A few more interesting reads on women in journalism:

On reporters and rape: Three ideas worth rising about the cacophony

Lara Logan’s tragic sexual assault:  Apparently the fault of CBS news for sending a purty young thang out in public

If women never went anywhere where we risked being sexually assaulted, we’d never go anywhere, period. We certainly couldn’t go to work on foreign aid projects. Or to U.S. military academies. Not to college. Not on dates. Not to parties. Not to bars. Or on cruises. Not to work as models. Or security contractors. Except that even if we never went any of those places, we’d still be screwed (pun intended) because of course a high percentage of rapes happen in the home, committed by perpetrators whom the victims know. Putting the responsibility on women to prevent sexual assault by restricting their own behavior – or on their employers to limit it for them – won’t actually solve the problem, it will just reinforce gendered norms about what “good” women “should” do.

And, finally, the idea that Lara Logan was “more at risk” of sexual assault because she was attractive is laughable. I’d be interested to know what fuckability threshold women should stay below in order to be safe from rape. Could Logan have just added some thick glasses? What if she had spinach in her teeth? How about if she gained 20 pounds – then would she be safe from the mob of 200 people who apparently decided to subject her to a prolonged beating and repeated sexual assaults because her delicate beauty stirred their romantic longings? Give me a break. Rape is about power, not how cute the victim is.

I have two things to add:

1) Women can only reduce their chances of being assaulted, we cannot prevent rape – preventing rape involves preventing the behavior of rape.

2) It’s very sad the discussion of rape still has to focus on the women – her looks, her actions, what she wore… Why are her characteristics more important than the characteristics of the rapists? Why are they immune from scrutiny and accountabilty?

Reporting – and many other jobs or activities – while female

There’s an article in the New York Times today about “Reporting While Female” by Sabrina Tavernise. Indeed, women human rights defenders face the same risks as reporters:

But women reporters face another set of challenges. We are often harassed in ways that male colleagues are not. This is a hazard of the job that most of us have experienced and few of us talk about.

Last week, CBS News said that its reporter Lara Logan was assaulted by a crowd of men in Cairo. CBS News did not detail the circumstances, but the network’s statement — that she had suffered a “brutal and sustained sexual assault” — said enough.

And, not only do reporters and women human rights defenders face these challenges but also Peace Corps Volunteers and many other women working, volunteering or travelling abroad. I’ve travelled quite a bit and have been harassed by men – groped, cat-called, and looked at like a lion looks at their prey. But I’d also caution that these actions happen in the US too – men asking women to show their breasts or butts, men  touching women inappropriatedly, or – as many of us female bloggers face – crude and threatening sexist remarks on our posts.

But – getting back on topic – the NY Times ran another piece similar to the above referenced artice:

Why we need women in war zones 

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

There is an added benefit. Ms. Logan is a minor celebrity, one of the highest-profile women to acknowledge being sexually assaulted. Although she has reported from the front lines, the lesson she is now giving young women is probably her most profound: It’s not your fault. And there’s no shame in telling it like it is.