TWIF: Vol. 34

Mar 17, 2016
This Week in Feminism


1. #SmileForJoe

America: where you can get closer to shattering the ultimate glass ceiling than any woman who has come before you, and your only reward is getting cyber-cat-called by a news anchor on Twitter (plus, you can bet that tweet is actually the least offensive thing about you on the Internet rn! Ah, charming American irony). Luckily, we have Samantha Bee to guide us through these trying times with hill-arity and perfectly on-point feminism. So, here’s what happened: this past week, Hillary Clinton swept the mini-Super Tuesday primaries, winning a majority of votes in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, and North Carolina. To congratulate her on this “big night,” Joe Scarborough of NBC tweeted at her during her victory speech and instructed her to smile. Cute! In response, Sam launched a new hashtag #SmileForJoe, encouraging the ladies of Twitter to unleash their happiest victory faces imaginable to please the NBC newsman. *sigh* As if we weren’t already obsessed with the Full Frontal star enough, this move was everything we needed and more. As always, thank you, Queen Bee (not to be confused with Queen Bey).


2. Lady pilots!!! Lady pilots!!!

New motto: if you can’t beat ‘em, fly over ‘em. Though women still haven’t been granted the right to drive in Saudi Arabia (beep beep, gender roles!) some ~fly~ ladies bent the rules for a recent Royal Brunei Airlines flight, where they successfully completed the company’s first ever trip piloted by a women-only flight deck. Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy, alongside her sky-high sidekicks Senior First Officers Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem and Sariana Nordin, flew 10 hours from the tiny nation of Brunei (on the island of Borneo) to the big ol’ nation of Saudi Arabia, all the while breakin’ records and glass ceilings (skies??) alike. This story also helps us dismantle some of that pesky Islamophobia: though more progressive, Asian countries like Brunei are excluded from the widespread, western characterization of the Muslim world, both Brunei and Saudi Arabia are ‘Muslim’ countries that represent some of the massive diversity within Islam. Both governments exercise two different approaches to social issues and progress. Finally, it looks like Royal Brunei Airlines is a pretty rad, feminist company that actively supports the efforts of young women engineers. And they have a dope Instagram. Brunei field trip, anybody?



3. Mother Teresa A SAINT

Regardless of your religious beliefs/lack thereof, it’s quite possible that you will still get stoked on Mother Teresa’s approval for sainthood this week. Her canonization (lol I didn’t know what that word meant, either) has been scheduled by the Pope to occur in September of this year. Hers is a solidly impressive story to honor during Women’s Herstory Month; the “saint of the gutters,” our gal M.T. (born in 1910 as Gonxha Agnes in Albania) was a Roman Catholic nun made famous by her humanitarian work with India’s poorest people throughout most of the 20th century. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976, the literal saint of a woman dedicated her life to charity despite struggling to survive on the streets of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) for the years that she worked most closely with residents of India’s slums. There are people out there, however, who have pointed out some potential blemishes on Mother Teresa’s squeaky clean record as a ‘humanitarian,’ and who criticize her role in problematic orientalism, which was a “source of immeasurable scarring to the postcolonial psyche of India and its diaspora” as this author states. Either way, her canonization serves as a reminder that women’s history is as complicated as women themselves, and it’s important to appreciate and acknowledge all aspects of women’s lives.




A few weeks ago, U.S. scientists finally grew a pair (of ovaries, of course) and attempted the first uterus transplant in the country’s history. This week, we unfortunately got the news that the procedure led to complications and the eventual removal of the uterus from Lindsey, the Cleveland, Ohio patient. Many scientists think the transplant failed because the uterus used (the used-terus?) came from a deceased patient instead of one who was living, as in most cases of successful transplants around the world--though, truthfully, few uterine transplants have even been attempted globally. So while this must have been pretty devastating for Lindsey, and while it was initially upsetting for us, too, feminists in the U.S. can look upon this operation as a success in the sense that it has inspired conversation about the oft-neglected field of women’s health and science. More on my thoughts about women’s health here.


5. SXSW Indie-versity

A meet-up with the Powerpuff Girls, Team THINX, and lots of Texas BBQ already sounds feminist utopia-y enough on its own, but what happens when you add a group of immensely talented and diverse filmmakers to the mix? Well that’s when you know you’ve arrived in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest (SXSW), A.K.A. one of the largest annual media conferences and the nation’s #1 handlebar-mustache-variety hipster destination. The festival this year hosted a solid amount of rad feminist creators, but also did its part in sparking conversation about the need for more diversity within the film industry in particular. At a panel led by a handful of minority filmmakers (in the film world, that means ladies, other non-hetero folks, other people of color, etc.) the audience was treated to some brilliant insight into what it’s like to be a marginalized filmmaker, and how the independent film scene is the place to be if you’re part of a minority population. More like South By South YES amirite?!?



Also SNL made a funny and we loved it. Watch “This Is Not A Feminist Song” RIGHT. NOW. pls.

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