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Archive for October, 2009

Obama planning on lifting the HIV travel ban

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

So, for 22 years, for those that are HIV positive, have not been able to enter into the United States, either as visitors or as immigrants. I just found out that this was even a law just about two month ago, because one of my fabulous Anti-Oppressive Practice professors mainly does her work in HIV and told us about how some of her team couldn’t go to the States for conferences, or, they had to make sure to not mention that they were HIV positive. Kind of a ridiculous law right? Well, the good news is, is that Obama is lifting this ban!

President Obama called the 22-year ban on travel and immigration by HIV-positive individuals a decision “rooted in fear rather than fact” and announced the end of the rule-making process lifting the ban.

The president signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 at the White House Friday and also spoke of the new rules, which have been under development more more than a year. “We are finishing the job,” the president said.

There will be a 60-day waiting period for this to be put in implementation. Very exciting stuff, because as Obama said, this law was put in place due to fear and not fact.

Click here for the story from the Washington Post.

Obama signs new hate crime legislation

October 29, 2009 1 comment

After working so hard to get this off the ground, Obama has finally signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act yesterday, the Feminist Majority reports. This is some exciting stuff!

The bill extends the definition of federal hate crimes to include attacks motivated by sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability and empowers federal authorities to help local law enforcement investigate hate crimes.

This is what Obama had to say:

“Over the past 10 years, there were more than 12,000 reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation alone. And we will never know how many incidents were never reported at all…no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability.”

Matthew Shepard was a university student who was tortured and killed, because he was perceived to be gay. James Byrd Jr. was an African-American man who was tied to the back of a truck by two white supremacists, dragged from it and decapitated in the process. They were both killed in 1998. Yes, this has been a long time coming.

Edit: Sorry, the link wasn’t right!

How Richmond, CA is responding to the gang rape

October 29, 2009 3 comments

I feel like this is all I’m covering at the moment, but this has become at least transnational news, if not international news. This incident has rocked a lot of people and and the Richmond community itself. Personally, I am hoping that this incident will bring a huge amount of light to the horrible situation of ALL violence against women and girls, whether that be rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse…and the list could go on. This is a serious issue. These issues deserve to be heard and need to be heard.

Here is a video of a rally in Richmond, CA.

Community rallies in wake of weekend gang rape of 15-year-old girl in Richmond, California (video)

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Four have been charged

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Four of the participants of the gang-rape that took place against a 15-year old girl in Richmond, CA have been charged for this despicable crime.

Manuel Ortega, 19, was charged with assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and rape with a foreign object while acting in concert, said Dara Cashman, Contra Costa County senior deputy district attorney.

She said three minors were also charged but declined to release their names. Two of them, 15 and 17, were charged with rape with a foreign object while acting in concert. A 16-year-old was charged with robbery and rape by a foreign object while acting in concert, Cashman said.

All four suspects were also charged with special enhancements that could result in life sentences if they are convicted, according to Cashman.

Lt. Mark Gagan commented about how there is still a lot of work and possible arrests that need to be made.

Arrests made in the 15-year old rape victim case

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

CNN is reporting that five arrests have been made in this gang-rape case. Three juveniles and two adults.

However, police expect to make even more arrests, because apparently around 10 people may have gotten involved. Police explain some more sick details about the incident:

“Based on witness statements and suspect statements, and also physical evidence, we know that she was raped by at least four suspects committing multiple sex acts,” Gagan said.

“As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated,” Gagan said.

Sick. Sick. Sick. I hope justice is served in court.

A 15-year old girl is gang-raped

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

This definitely goes under the category of horrible news of the day. This kind of stuff makes me sick and it makes me feel lots of emotion, because you know, what if you were that 15-year old girl?

She was raped outside of her high school after her homecoming dance by FIVE men (some were teenagers – I don’t know if you want to count them as men, but I digress…). The horrible thing on top of this, is that there were people who knew what was going on and no one reported it! This gang-rape went on for TWO HOURS, and yet, no one reported it, even after knowing what was going on. But of course, this is not the real issue and I don’t want to take away from it. Police explain:

“She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously OK enough with it to behave that way in each other’s presence,” Lt. Mark Gagan said. “What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it.”

There is a mention of alcohol at the end of the article, citing that she and all of those guys were drinking, but the article only says that she had a large amount to drink before the rape. I really don’t want that getting in the way of anything. We don’t need any victim-blaming here!

My jaw dropped

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

So, I was over at Sociological Images, and found this:

I have no words, other than this is sick and completely misogynistic.

Categories: misogyny, sexism, sport

Gender politics in late night comedy

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Nell Scovell, a former writer for the Late Show with David Letterman, has come out with an article about gender inequality in late night comedy, as well as her own experiences while writing for Letterman. This article is really informative and it’s interesting to get inside of a writer’s room, because it’s not something that the general public really has a chance to do or see.

Right off the bat, we find out that there are literally ZERO female writers working for not only Letterman, but also Leno and Conan at this moment. Of course, this talk about gender inequality in this workplace has come with Letterman revealing that he’s had sexual relationships with some of his female staff in the past. Scovell answers some revealing questions at this point.

Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.

Sounds like quite a great workplace for women, eh?! If I were in the same position, I would also feel demeaned. Knowing that female staff benefit more from having a sexual relationship with high-level male employees than just working your butt off and doing an awesome job, makes me sad and it’s totally unacceptable. So what does Scovell suggest?

I just want Dave to hire some qualified female writers and then treat them with respect. And that goes for Jay and Conan, too. I realize that “hire qualified women!” is the sort of outraged demand that’s often met with a sigh. No one disagrees and yet gender inequality in high-paying positions extends into all professions.

So true. No one seems to disagree about it, but so much gender inequality still exists in high-paying positions. Is it one those, “Yeah, more qualified women should be hired, but I shouldn’t have to be the one to do it?” mentalities? Kind of like the bystander mentality? Like, no one has a problem with women in high-paying jobs, but no one wants to go and actually help out this situation?

I guess it’s something to think about. All I know, is that ALL women deserve a good workplace where they have respect, which Scovell did eventually find. Of course, that was after leaving Letterman.

Thank you, Joanne Lipman

October 26, 2009 3 comments

A refreshing Op-Ed piece has come out of the New York Times, by Joanne Lipman. It is entitled The Mismeasure of Woman. And here, she speaks the truth:

The truth is, women haven’t come nearly as far as we would have predicted 25 years ago. Somewhere along the line, especially in recent years, progress for women has stalled. And attitudes have taken a giant leap backward.

But apparently, since we measure things by numbers (an example being the Shriver Report), we see that women are making a progression. Lipman takes on this notion, and points out that women are not making nearly as much progression as they maybe should be. She talks about how attitudes towards women have pretty much become toxic, and that you have to be one stereotype or the other. How true is that of our society? Women are constantly polarized. You have to be the good girl, or the bad girl.

One telling thing I found was when she mentioned some of her own college experience:

When I was in college in the 1980s, many of us looked derisively at the women’s liberation movement. That was something that strident, humorless, shrill women had done before us.

Was this a part of the problem that caused attitudes to shift? It’s not just about men, but about so many women that look at that feminist movement as something that it wasn’t, and something that the women were not. It’s so unfortunate that these ideas of the feminist movement, along with those women have been made into what they are today. Although I’m not saying that Lipman still has those feelings, I just thought that was telling, as she talks about attitudes towards women being one of the things that sets women back.

I really encourage you to read the whole article. What I am saying definitely does not do it any justice. Lipman has some great ideas and it’s a very interesting piece…so head on over the article now!

A rant.

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

After reading some more about that whole Oklahoma women shaming, my blood has just once again boiled. Seriously, this anti-abortion stuff/women shaming stuff makes my blood boil so much, it’s crazy.

It just got me thinking about how in the world could so many people believe that women and men are equal? How could they believe this when clearly, women are oppressed? It is because it’s written into law? Is it because we’re now told that women and men are equal? Or…is it because people are kind of just lazy nowadays and don’t care that much?

I guess it probably is true that there is misinformation out there, and that people are not being educated properly on these things. But if people think there’s equality because it’s written into law, I ask, how does something written down trump a society’s power and privilege system, which is so historical and intertwined within everything in our society?

But then, there are the people who actually believe that gender inequality is okay. Do they enjoy shaming women into not having abortions? Do they enjoy not wanting to give women a choice about whether they stay at home with the kids or work? Do they enjoy the other many oppressing things that women face? My cynical self believes that they may sometimes enjoy shaming women, or at least think that it needs to be done. Maybe “enjoy” isn’t the write word, but these people obviously think they know what’s best.

What actually needs to be done to combat this? As the book says, “We Don’t Need Another Wave“. I’ve personally never read the book, but I agree with the title. We don’t need another era of huge political activism where constant demonstrations are being held (although we do need some of those). I think we need to be constantly politically active* in our everyday lives. It seems simple, but how many of us are actually politically active in our everyday lives? Do we stand up for what we believe in everyday? Do we write about and spread our beliefs around so that everyone can read/hear? Do we call out our closest friends when they make the most sexist or racist joke you’ve ever heard? Once you get uncomfortable and you know something is against your beliefs as a feminist, or anti-racist, etc…you need to step up and hold that title and possibly make those other people uncomfortable in the process. You do not have to be on the side of the majority. Really. You don’t have to be. In fact, I discourage it, unless the majority becomes people who believe and ACT ON the belief that everyone (gender, race, class, sexuality, etc) is equal.

We have a far way to come. We need to be on our toes constantly, seeing how we can stand up for what is right. You may think that you are doing the most insignificant thing by saying something, or blogging something, but you never know how it may affect one person. And we should all know, sometimes, it only takes the mobilization of one person, to change everything.

*by me saying that we need to be constantly politically active, I do not mean sitting behind a computer and joining a Facebook group that supports your cause…and then doing nothing about it.

Categories: feminism, general, rant, sexism, society