Feminist Friday: Margaret Thatcher Causes One Final Uproar

This Week in Ladybits

Hey, we’re starting off with some actual progressive news for ladybits. I know: You could have knocked me over with a fallopean tube. Federal judge Edward R. Korman has ordered that the morning-after pill be made available over the counter to women under 17 without point-of sale restrictions. You know why he ruled that way? He actually looked at the science behind it. What a novel way to conduct our national affairs!

Most of our ladybits legislating has not been following that wacky “look at the science” template, however. And goodness, has there been a lot of it. If your ladybits have been feeling particularly cranky and exhausted lately, it’s probably because in just the first three months of 2013, state legislatures proposed 694 provisions to keep your hoo-has in check. The chastity belt has risen, and it is made of paper.

Case in point: Alabama’s latest entry in the deprive-women-of-a-legal-right derby.

The Arkansas state senate does not wish to fund any sex-educating, especially by Planned Parenthood. Just learn about pregnancy and STDs through through trial and error, kids!

The Kansas legislature passed its Orwellian-named “Women’s Right to Know Act.” Steve Benen at the MaddowBlog delved a little deeper into a clause that requires Kansas doctors to lie to their patients.

By the way, this creepy thing of using the phrase “Women’s Right To Know” to push through anti-choice legislation requiring women to hear factually incorrect statements about made-up health risks or submit to other intimidating procedures has been used once or twice before. This is some serious bullshit.

Ugh. At the very least, Virginia attorney general, probable gubernatorial candidate, and charter member of the Anti-Sex League Ken Cuccinelli won’t get to tell you with whom you can share which of your bits while in his state.

And Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer (R) has stopped an anti-Planned Parenthood tack-on to her proposal to expand Medicaid in her state. Credit for being sensible where credit is due.

This Week in Workplace-Appropriate Compliments

So it’s just possible you may have heard about President Obama calling California’s Kamala Harris “by far the best-looking attorney general in the country,” and then apologizing for it. The apology was entirely warranted, because we do not praise someone’s brilliance and toughness on the job and then note that she’s easy on the eyes. It tends to undercut things. That’s why you almost never see news reports noting that Mr. Obama, the hunkiest president we’ve had in decades, sported a fresh haircut, a fashionably narrow tie, and a citrus-scented cologne with hints of musk for his meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It tends to undercut one’s purposeful mojo.

Mr. Obama realized why what he’d said was a bad idea and he apologized appropriately and that was the end of it, right? Well, no, of course not. First we had to have a chorus of outrage (from, thank goodness, the increasingly small usual group) on how a man can’t even tell a lady she has nice knobs after she finishes her PowerPoint on hypercontagious disease vectors anymore and what are the rules, anyway?

Dylan Byers of Politico, who is maybe not so bright, framed the issue as “the freedom to compliment the looks of another in public,” as though people are getting thrown into the slammer instead of, you know, politely being asked not to be sexist in public. Cute column, Dylan. You keep up with your little typing projects. Just don’t let all that “thinking” furrow your brow, and don’t let that laptop cover up those baby blues of yours.

As if to underscore the point, Name It Change It released a study this week on how coverage of the appearance of female political candidates has an immediate negative effect on their poll numbers, regardless of whether that coverage is positive or negative.

Anyway, for anyone all het up about when you’re allowed to compliment that babe at the office, Lindy West of Jezebel summed it up nicely.

This Week in Ugh

I have worked for (and against) a marketing department or two in my day, and so I feel safe in saying this: Marketers ruin everything cool. EVERYTHING. This is because marketing is inherently set up to be opposed to anything new and interesting (or anything complex, or anything nuanced) happening ever. They want easy categories of people to throw buyable stuff at. They want boys to like explosions and penis substitutes and they want women to like pink and discovering ever-new swathes of their bodies to pluck and/or reduce. And they don’t want either side to be interested in anything outside the norm, even if that thing is cool.

And that, I’m guessing, is why marketers wanted to keep the female co-lead of The Last of Us off the game’s box, and why the game’s market testers weren’t planning on having women in their focus groups until the developers specifically asked them to. Props to Naughty Dog for jumping through hoops to try to make a video game that appeals to both genders and condescends to neither.

Congressman Paul Ryan is not a fan of Medicare. You will never guess which gender relies more on Medicare.

The NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy seems to get applied especially frequently to LGBT people of color.

And guess what being in a same-sex marriage does to your taxes?

This Week in Thinky

Sally Kohn noted a few wee problems with Glenn Beck and Rick Santorum’s sudden concern for an immigrant family.

Zerlina Maxwell predicted the future of online feminism for Ebony.

April 9 was Pay Equity Day. How’s that working out for everyone? Whoa: Apparently Swiss banks are not above pranking people to make a point. (hat tip to Jezebel)


ThinkProgress looked at how the media whiffs on covering science and gender.

And Ana Marie Cox mashed up a couple of U.S. news topics.

Image via Twitter

This Week in Are You Kidding Me?

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry made an entirely reasonable “Lean Forward” promo.



…And then the conservative Web went all batcrap. Because, of course, she wants to make your children a part of “the collective.” Is that a Pokemon thing? Welcome to the latest tempest in a tea (party) cup.

And yes, you’d better believe Harris-Perry has a response.

This Week in the World

We’re finishing up International Anti-Street Harassment Week. There’s still time to join an event or chalk out some space on a sidewalk. And, yes, you can help if you’re a boy too.

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s “Iron Lady” and first female prime minister, died this week at the age of 87. While the U.S. tends to wrap up Ms. Thatcher in its cloak of rosy Reagan nostalgia, the Brits themselves were fairly open about their mixed feelings. Some of those feelings were not so mixed. If you want to mull about whether Thatcher was a true feminist or just an important female icon, there is no shortage of material out there.

MP Glenda Jackson, did you have anything to add? My favorite part of this clip is imagining someone in the control booth wondering if they should take down the “Tributes to Baroness Thatcher” chyron now. Oh, dear, now? How about now? (Hat tip to the always delightful Wonkette.)


This Week in General Awesomeness and Fun

i09 rhapsodized about the smarts of Arrow’s Felicity Smoak.

Image via io9

The Jane Dough started a Game of Thrones feminist leaderboard.

Filmmaker Jane Campion will be awarded the Carrosse d’Or for innovation at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The Crunk Feminist Collective featured an interview with Kathryn Buford of Live Unchained.

Katee Sackhoff will be playing a bounty hunter in Riddick. Yes, please.

Image Via kateesackhoff.com

The Onion gave us this maybe-crying-a-little-bit-funny Hillary Clinton guest piece.

And BuzzFeed ran a photoriffic feature on Janelle Monáe.

Image via Janelle Monáe’s official Facebook page

Have a great weekend. Get out there and cut a fine figure of your own.

Got a tip for Feminist Friday? Tweet Ali.