For most of us, age 16 meant worrying a lot about inane things like passing a driver’s test, quieting turbulent rumors about potential Homecoming courts, and keeping it in our pants, to name a few. If you live in Sweden, however, you can feel free to add learning about global feminism to that list from here on out. This past week at the launch of the Swedish translation of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (ya know; ***Flawless champion of African women, sampled in earth-shattering Yonce song, yada yada), it was announced that every 16-year-old in the country will be given a free copy of the book. Just so they can...learn? About global feminism? And other good things? What????? Apparently women’s liberation is a popular concern over in Sweden because the publication was endorsed by a variety of interest groups. And then Sweden turned its head toward the U.S., smiled wryly, and said: “Hello from the other side.” *eye twitch* #bitteramericans
2. James Deen Accused of Widespread Sexual Assault.
We all remember the most famous lines from our favorite children’s books: “if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk; if you give a moose a muffin, he’ll want some jam to go with it; if you give a dude some power, he’s going to feel entitled to sex and respect.” The most recent case of male entitlement resulting in multiple accusations of sexual assault from ex-lovers and colleagues comes to us from James Deen, a gem of the porn industry and much-beloved “male feminist” performer. After fellow adult performer Stoya tweeted allegations of rape committed by Deen this past week, at least six other women have come forward with grotesque stories of abuse at the hands of this same guy. Though he denies the claims and maintains that he “respects women,” the growing number of women with stories of his maltreatment have us thinking otherwise. Additionally, Deen has been dropped by Kink, a bondage pornography studio based in San Francisco. Now that’s what we call #SolidarityWithStoya.
Image by David Shankbone
3. Emma Watson Can Hang.
So, remember how some feminists were annoyed with Emma Watson’s white feminist-y, bro-centric #HeForShe speech at the UN last fall? Well, news surfaced this week that, before delivering the now-famous speech, she was instructed to avoid using the word “feminism” because of its ~divisive~ nature. Oh brother (and we don’t mean #HeForShe here). When will people get it through their lil’ skulls that feminism ain’t as scary as they want it to be? And when will they understand the irony of giving a speech about gender equality and not including the word “feminism”??? At the end of it all, at least this backstory means we can all go a little easier on Watson for writing a less-than-perfect speech. Even though she may not have succeeded with intersectionality or fempowerment entirely, at least she stuck it to the man by using the word “feminism” in an address about the women’s movement. (7 times, BTW).
4. Sexist Governments Can't Hang.
This past week, the world celebrated the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. At least the parts of the world that were allowed to celebrate, that is. In Beijing, for example, a feminist art exhibit depicting the Chinese fight against domestic violence was shut down by authorities before it could even open on Wednesday morning. Artists and curators affiliated with the project say that the exhibit was bolted closed because of pressures from national authorities and the growing threat of feminism to the Communist party. Yikes.
5. Shooting at Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, CO.
Last Friday, an extremist in Colorado Springs, CO. committed an act of terrorism, fatally shooting three and wounding nine others at a Planned Parenthood facility. While officials weren’t really “sure” of his motives at first (puhh-lease), it has now been confirmed that as he was being peacefully carried away by police there were mumblings about “dead baby parts.” Not only was this an event that illuminated the dangerous anti-choice climate festering in many parts of the country, but it dealt a really devastating blow to progressive communities everywhere. As Congress continues to try to push through legislation to defund the healthcare facility, extremists like the shooter in Colorado continue to be misinformed about reproductive healthcare and continue to act out violently. If you’re at all like us and you felt the attacks on Planned Parenthood kind of faded out with the end of summer, then we’re sry to be the bearers of bad news. At least now we know that we need to #StandWithPP taller and stronger than ever. Keep those doors open.
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