Welcome to the first edition of TGIFeminism, a new weekly link blog by Laura Harcourt and Megan Purdy. Every Friday we’ll be highlighting feminist issues in culture and politics from all over the world — hard stories, uplifting stories, and food for feminist thought.
Thank Goodness It’s Friday, Thank Goodness It’s Feminism
Last Sunday, a group of beautiful, rich people gathered to give and accept awards, and it could have been like absolutely every other awards show ever telecast, but it wasn’t. Instead, this year, Viola Davis made history.
For the first time ever (and how absurd, how strange a thought — one day, it must be, this thought will seem laughably fictitious), a black woman won the Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Drama series. Viola Davis’ turn in How To Get Away With Murder has been lauded all year, and seeing her climb those stairs and make that speech (that speech! Listen to it, again and again, let it seep into you) and hold up that trophy felt like watching a queen get crowned. Erase that line, ladies. And, creators? Create those parts.
Last week on WWAC we spotlighted a new Kickstarter project. Drawing the Line is a comics anthology by Indian women, created in the wake of the Delhi rape protests. Now, Ad Astra Comix is bringing the anthology to North American readers and building awareness workshops around it. Ad Astra believes that in addition to being great work, Drawing the Line is a great conversation-starter for increasing internationalism and intersectionality in feminism.
We didn’t have Homecoming at my school, but it always seemed like the sort of platonic ideal of teenage achievement: proof of popularity, the chance to be a school celebrity, the opportunity to wear a fancy dress (and a tiara!). So imagine how delighted this girl was to win:
— Carson Eggbutt (@carson_kalon) September 12, 2015
That’s Landon Patterson, a 17 year old trans girl from Kansas City, MO. Listen to the cheers and the applause! That is exactly how you want to win Homecoming Queen, and Landon clearly deserves it.
Bisexual Visibility Day was September 23. It didn’t create much of stir in most news organizations, unfortunately. Over on Autostraddle, they’re honoring bisexuals in the past, the present, and the future. As Audrey puts it, if you “pick any major battle in contemporary U.S. queer history, from Stonewall to marriage equality to non-discrimination efforts, and bisexual people were on the front lines of the struggle. You might have to dig to find the stories, though. Historical texts often subsume bisexual activists into the G in LGBT or ignore their contributions altogether.”
Masculinity so fragile that this hashtag’s point was almost immediately proven, as men descended on it to complain that they were being attacked and even beta-fied. One Twitter even user challenged women to fight him in order to prove who was fragile.
I challenge any female tweeting unironically with #MasculinitySoFragile to last three rounds against me in a fight. We'll see who's fragile.
— Mech of Justice (@MechofJusticeWZ) September 23, 2015
The hashtag, created to discuss the weight of toxic masculinity, was perceived by some men as an attack on men, and was quickly trolled by MRAs. But even with all the trolling, the hashtag started a great discussion about marketing gender, gender roles, and structural violence.
Landon might have had the ultimate teenage experience, but it’s not all acceptance and applause: transwoman Shadi Petosky was detained at the Orlando, FL airport on Monday, due to the TSA’s decision to call her in for a security inspection after finding what they called “an anomaly” and what she pointed out was, in fact, her penis, during her scan.
I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an "anomaly" (my penis)
— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015
Petosky went on to tell BuzzFeed that “the officer said something like, ‘You are a man, I should have scanned you as a man then…Then he kept asking me if I was a man or a woman.”
Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mike England claims that the incident was reviewed:
“After examining closed circuit TV video and other available information, TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines…Supervisory personnel and a Passenger Support Specialist participated in the screening to ensure guidelines were met.”
I’m absolutely sure that’s one hundred percent true and Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mike England also does not now have a nose approximately the length of a football field.
The Canadian Conservative Party’s attempt to ban the niqab during citizenship swearing ceremonies was shot down by the Supreme Court of Canada last week, but that didn’t stop Muslim women’s dress becoming a talking point in last night’s French language debate. A recently released poll suggests that a majority of Canadians would support another attempt at banning the niqab and the veil during citizenship ceremonies, and party leaders seem to have run with that. Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe support a ban, whereas NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau supported a woman’s right to choose her own darn clothes.
This exchange, though, sums up the debate:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “Mr. Mulcair, I will never tell my young daughter that a woman should cover her face because she’s a woman.”
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair: “Tackle the oppressor if you believe that there is oppression there.”
Did you know the U.N. has only three Peacekeeping units made up entirely of women? I did not. (In fact, I didn’t even know the U.N. had Peacekeeping units, so we’re expanding our knowledge together, you and I.) It’s not great that there are only three all-women units, but this is cool: after the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, a particular group answered the call for aid: a unit entirely made up of Muslim women from Bangladesh.
Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, a documentary featuring and following these women premiered last week at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here is an interview with Geeta Gandbhir, co-director and producer, for your edification and for mine.
Finally, we would like to end with a segment that might not be quite in line with traditional news round-ups — but when we came across this link, we had to include it. TGIF is not only about reporting, but about expanding our own base of knowledge, looking outside our comfort zones and familiar environments. With that in mind, please check out this amazing collection of interviews, hosted by Feminism in India. This page boasts profiles of fascinating Women in Power, and can only be a fabulous resource for feminists around the globe.
Thanks for joining us on our very first TGIF! Thank goodness it’s Friday…and Feminism!