All entries by this author

I am a woman, not a test mouse

Aug 15th, 2015 9:10 am | By

Courtesy of Josh Spokes, Saunders and French read an interview that a Hungarian newspaper did with Madonna, which involved multiple levels of translation. Have paper towels at your side.

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Don’t you have any where you look like a girl?

Aug 15th, 2015 8:52 am | By

I want to draw attention to something Pieter B said in a comment, because the situation he describes is so…frustrating, pervasive, infuriating…

I used to have a photo studio, and since I’m in Los Angeles I did a lot of shoots with actors and models. One day a stuntwoman who was trying to move into acting came to me with her portfolio, and said an agent who’d been interested in representing her had looked at her photos and asked “Don’t you have any where you look like a girl?”

She was a trained athlete, and in all her photos she was tall and proud and looked physically capable. Personally, I find that quite attractive, but then I’m not

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There is also class

Aug 14th, 2015 4:15 pm | By

I’ve been thinking about identity politics, aka privilege, aka intersectionality. Not really aka but they’re all talking about much the same thing – kinds of people who are treated badly in some way because they belong to that “kind”…aka because they have that identity.

I have mixed thoughts about it, as I do on so many things. (This isn’t allowed, I can’t help noticing. You’re not allowed to see what The Enemy is getting at, you have to spit at it and stamp on it, instead. The ensuing conversation tends to be rather thin and drab for my taste.) I get why identity politics can get tedious, and indeed grating. But – the fact remains that people are treated badly … Read the rest

A healthy baby girl

Aug 14th, 2015 11:47 am | By

A not very blesséd event.

An 11-year-old girl, who according to authorities was raped by her stepfather, gave birth to a healthy baby girl Thursday morning in Asunción, Paraguay.

That’s because Paraguay prevented her from having an abortion. Paraguay forced her to carry a baby to term at age 11 and to have major abdominal surgery to deliver it.

If that baby has the bad luck to be raped in ten years and to get pregnant via the rape…she too will be forced to carry the child to term, unless Paraguay changes the law.

The pregnancy was discovered in late April when the mother took her daughter to the hospital after the girl complained of abdominal pain.

The mother

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Aug 14th, 2015 9:46 am | By

Ever noticed these?

Usually when I notice them I notice the stupid skirt, and I grumble stupidly that that’s not me so why yadda yadda…

…but if I’m stuck wherever it is for a longer than usual time, I move on to the shoulders.

Look at the shoulders.

Consider the message.

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Will you only use earplugs if they’re the “girl” earplugs?

Aug 14th, 2015 9:06 am | By

I’ve found a great new source of hilarity – the visitor posts on Target’s Facebook page.

Like this response to the frenzied protesters:

Elena Christensen‎ Target 19 mins ·

Alright opposition, let’s get one thing straight. Removing gendered labeling does not mean those things are now only for people who do not conform to the traditional gender binary. Most things in Target stores are not gendered. Do you only buy a television if it’s a “girl” television? Will you only use earplugs if they’re the “girl” earplugs (although these are actually a thing)? Are you constantly suffering from headaches because the Advil is ungendered (OH THE HUMANITY!)? And if you can’t sort out for yourself what the

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Over the strenuous objections of scientists

Aug 14th, 2015 7:43 am | By

Chris Clarke reports a fairly striking bit of mission-reversal at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

A federal judge has spiked a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to issue 30-year-long permits to industry that would allow companies to kill bald and golden eagles.

Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court in San Jose ruled Monday that USFWS acted illegally when it approved the permits without analyzing the policy’s likely environmental impact as required by federal law. Koh ordered the agency to conduct a full environmental assessment of the policy. The permits, which would have allowed accidental “take” of bald and golden eagles at wind power sites and other industrial facilities, were created after wind power companies objected

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For courage in journalism

Aug 13th, 2015 4:04 pm | By

Asif Mohiuddin has won the Anna Politkovskaya Award for Journalism.

The 30-year-old Bangladeshi blogger, who left the country following militant attack and imprisonment for his writing, will be handed over the award at an International Festival in Ferrara, Italy in October this year.

German newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung and Italian newspaper Ferrara Italia reported on his latest achievement.

The report in Ferrara quoted Asif as saying: “I did not expect to win the award, is a recognition that makes me proud and makes me do my job more and more professional.”

Richly deserved.

 … Read the rest

She was not allowed to say no to anything

Aug 13th, 2015 10:55 am | By

Der Spiegel reports that decriminalization hasn’t made everything great for sex workers.

Alina ran away from poverty and abuse in Romania when she was 22.

Through a friend’s new boyfriend, she heard about the possibilities available in Germany. She learned that a prostitute could easily earn €900 ($1,170) a month there.

Alina began thinking about the idea. Anything seemed better than Sânandrei. “I thought I’d have my own room, a bathroom and not too many customers,” she says.

So she went to Berlin, to a brothel near the airport elegantly called Airport Muschis (“Airport Pussies”).

The brothel specialized in flat-rate sex. For €100 ($129), a customer could have sex for as long and as often as he wanted.

It all

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Really glad to hear that

Aug 13th, 2015 10:29 am | By

Last week Jesus and Mo talked to the barmaid about freedom of speech.

That kind of reminds me of what was going on last week at the blog network I used to belong to. I’m sure it’s totally a coincidence though. Totally.

The J&M Patreon.… Read the rest

Based on your sexual orientation or gender identity

Aug 13th, 2015 9:34 am | By

I have an email from the Human Rights Campaign. They tell a story about a gay man in Nebraska who was passive-aggressively fired from his part-time job at a wine store after his boyfriend came to visit. They want more stories to share.

Stories like Luke’s remind me why we cannot stop fighting.

They are the backbone of HRC’s mission. They are the reason that we are relentlessly advocating to pass comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. And they are also how we change hearts and minds, and inspire others to become advocates for equality.

If you have faced discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, or if you know someone who has, we want to know about it. Please take

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She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave.

Aug 13th, 2015 9:12 am | By

Callimachi’s Times article goes on to describe the way IS has developed a whole theology around its enslavement and marketing of Yazidi women and girls.

The trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held, viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated fleet of buses used to transport them.

A thriving slave trade, selling enslaved girls and women for permanent rape.

A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run

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What he was about to do was not a sin

Aug 13th, 2015 8:28 am | By

Prepare for extreme disgust as you begin to read this article by Rukmini Callimachi in the NY Times.

QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious

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Our minds are exquisitely attuned to the social environment

Aug 12th, 2015 6:00 pm | By

From an interview with Cordelia Fine by Anna Lena Phillips in American Scientist around 2010.

What first motivated me to write the book was an experience I had as a parent, rather than as an academic. I read a book which claimed that hardwired sex differences mean that boys and girls should be parented and taught differently. I found this really interesting—but when I looked at the actual studies being used as evidence, I was shocked by the extent to which the neuroscientific findings were being misrepresented. So my initial motivation was simply to alert people to the fact that old-fashioned stereotypes are being dressed up in neuroscientific finery, and to remind people not to be so enthralled with brain

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Children as young as six

Aug 12th, 2015 5:48 pm | By

Update: The story is from 2011. I blogged it then.

The BBC reports an incredibly depressing situation in the UK.

Britain’s madrassas have faced more than 400 allegations of physical abuse in the past three years, a BBC investigation has discovered.
But only a tiny number have led to successful prosecutions.

The revelation has led to calls for formal regulation of the schools, attended by more than 250,000 Muslim children every day for Koran lessons.

That’s a lot of children. And – every day? That’s a lot of time, too. And the “lessons” are just memorization of the Koran in Arabic – they’re about the most futile time-wasting kind of “lessons” it’s possible to have.

And on top of that … Read the rest

A concatenation of its ephemeral contents

Aug 12th, 2015 4:40 pm | By

Let’s consult the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a moment.

Berkeley famously rejected material substance, because he rejected all existence outside the mind. In his early Notebooks, he toyed with the idea of rejecting immaterial substance, because we could have no idea of it, and reducing the self to a collection of the ‘ideas’ that constituted its contents. Finally, he decided that the self, conceived as something over and above the ideas of which it was aware, was essential for an adequate understanding of the human person. Although the self and its acts are not presented to consciousness as objects of awareness, we are obliquely aware of them simply by dint of being active subjects. Hume rejected such claims,

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You’ve been warned

Aug 12th, 2015 4:23 pm | By

You’d better believe it.

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Regularly disrupted

Aug 12th, 2015 11:39 am | By

It’s happened before. The BBC reported in March 2013:

Sikh weddings are regularly disrupted by protesters opposed to mixed-faith marriages in gurdwaras, a BBC Asian Network investigation has found.

Victims and their families have accused the protesters – who believe non-Sikhs should not be getting married in Sikh temples – of threatening behaviour.

In some cases, protesters have barricaded themselves inside gurdwaras to prevent ceremonies taking place.

Last year the windows of a family’s house in Coventry were smashed.

That happened right before a “mixed” wedding in a nearby gurdwara.

The father of the bride told BBC Asian Network the house was targeted because his daughter was marrying a Hindu in a Sikh temple.

He said: “Some of these

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Blocking the wedding is always our last resort

Aug 12th, 2015 11:02 am | By

Wow. This is hideous – from the Independent:

A group of men have stormed a Sikh temple in London to stop an inter-faith marriage, forcing the couple to cancel their wedding day.

Members of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, in Southall, said the final preparations were underway on Friday when the men arrived.

Sohan Singh Sumra, vice-president of the temple, told The Independent a group of up to 22 people men arrived shortly after 8am.

“They were all thugs,” he added. “None of them were recognised by any of the Sikh groups here.

“It was because it was a mixed marriage…they just came here to spoil it and intimidate us.”

[amendment mine]

What possible business was it of … Read the rest

What oath is that, exactly?

Aug 12th, 2015 9:32 am | By

Back in Ferguson

Kylie Morris of Channel 4 in Britain visited Ferguson on Tuesday and tried to explain to the British people why white “Oath Keepers” were allowed to openly carry firearms on the street while peaceful black protesters were arrested.

“The men, calling themselves Oath Keepers, only added to the already simmering tensions,” a Channel 4 anchor noted before tossing to Morris for a live report from Ferguson.

Morris told her British audience that the commemoration of the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death had been interrupted by armed Oath Keepers, who claimed that they were there to protect businesses and conservative journalists.

“But certainly their presence, their state of wearing uniforms, military-type uniforms — some of

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