In the menstrual hygiene world, India is kinda notorious for, like, being super unsupportive of Aunt Flo. Widespread thought in India and many other developing nations is that women are “impure” for one week each month while on their periods. Some poorer and more rural areas of developing nations go so far as to shun menstruating people for the duration of their bleeding. The more industrialized cities of these nations, however, are not usually characterized in such a way. Until recently, at least. The past few months have stirred up controversy within some of the urban Hindu temples, which currently bar women from entrance if they’re on their period (some even just if they’re of reproductive age). Badass Indian ladies from all over the world have responded with #HappyToBleed, sending a message to leaders in the Hindu religion that women who bleed will not be discriminated against. Hashtags and Twitter-buzz have the potential to go really viral, especially in a densely populated nation like India, so it’s not unlikely that their battle cry will be heard by the leaders themselves. Bloody awesome work, ladies.
2. Saudi Women Get the Vote.
Though they were still barred from driving themselves to the polls, some women of Saudi Arabia made herstory this past week as they exercised the first voting and government participation rights granted to them--like, ever. It’s true that within this highly conservative nation--one that maintains Shariah Law as the law of the land--women still cannot drive cars, go out into public without a male family member, or socialize with non-familial men. In fact, Saudi Arabia is largely considered one of the most hostile places on the planet to be a woman; so any step forward is a step appreciated. In an authoritarian monarchy like Saudi Arabia, elections in general are considered rather symbolic, but this one stands out as particularly ineffective in the battle for protecting human rights (only 20 of the 2100 municipal seats up for election were actually filled by women with this first election). Even so, the symbolic nature of allowing women to vote is important. And yeah, we’re all aware that if we want to see women treated as full human beings, Saudi Arabian officials could benefit from a women’s studies class or two--but then again, who couldn’t? (Ahem, let’s have a chat, U.S.A.) ←- srsly, click that link.
3.Carly Fiorina's PP Accusations Backfire.
When even the dude who heads the “Center for Medical Progress” (AKA the staunchly anti-abortion group behind the Planned Parenthood sting videos) says your pro-life views are a little extreme, you know you have a problem. This week, Carly Fiorina was called out by a few media outlets for “exaggerating claims”--a kind indictment, TBH--about Planned Parenthood, specifically that a “majority of Americans” support federal defunding of the reproductive health provider. Nice try, CarFi, but nah. Virtually every major poll administered to the American public (even one from Fox News) shows us that the majority of people actually support federal funding. So, this is awkward. Planned Parenthood; can we subtweet about uninformed politicians to you as well astext you with concerns for our sexual wellbeing? Asking for a friend.
4. U.S. Sex Ed is B-A-D.
If you’ll recall, Team THINX is a real big fan of comprehensive sex education. That’s why a new report out this week about failing sex education methods in the U.S. is a big-ole downer. Not only did the report find that well below half of all middle and high schools surveyed covered all the subject material as laid (pun intended) out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but we also see that the emphasis in classrooms is almost exclusively on promoting abstinence (an unrealistic and unfair expectation for most young, hormonal human beings) and the dangers of having unprotected sex before marriage, with very little information about how to avoid the dangers they speak of. Alright, so abstinence-only education is garbage--what else is new? Yet another reminder to the States to get our heads out of our asses. Maybe with some comprehensive sex ed we’d know our heads don’t belong there, anyway. Oooo, got ‘em.
5. Ex-Cop Convicted of Serial Rape.
Police brutality and abuse of power in the U.S. has been an issue at the front of the public conscience for the past year or two, fueled by the spike in media coverage of the almost daily senseless murders of black people at the hands (and guns) of the police. News this week is equally if not far more disturbing, as the brutality takes a different form. Daniel Holtzclaw, a white (now ex-) cop from Oklahoma City, was found guilty this week of five counts of rape and 13 counts of sexual assault against eight of his 13 current accusers--all but one of whom were poor black women. Violence against women, especially poor women of color, is a massive and growing problem in this country, and this case demonstrates with extraordinary blatancy just how volatile the power imbalances between races and genders can be in extreme situations--situations which unfortunately are hardly uncommon. #BlackLivesMatter. More on that, plus your own contributions to the conversation, here.