“In R&B there was, is, and I hope will continue to be a way of thinking about love that is important to us as a community. As much as I enjoy hip-hop, I feel there is not enough rap out there embracing and affirming love that is about communication and accountability. You hear this when you listen to songs like Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher.” Jackie sings, and I paraphrase: “My life has been filled with disappointment, and things haven’t worked. And then when love came, I found that things began to work out, and I could face the world.” I think many of us are longing for a redemptive Black love in our lives. It helps us face the world.”
— bell hooks
When I put on thick black eyelinerit is not for Youit is my armor against your standardsand my announcement thatmy will to survivemy desire to carry homeis stronger than yours to destroy.
I will dismantle your shadow and all of it’s echoes from my body.Fear is not the glue for the love I build, anymore.

When I put on thick black eyeliner
it is not for You
it is my armor against your standards
and my announcement that
my will to survive
my desire to carry home
is stronger than yours to destroy.

I will dismantle your shadow and
all of it’s echoes from my body.
Fear is not the glue for
the love I build, anymore.

“We teach girls shame; close your legs, cover yourself, we make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something.”
— Chimamamda Ngozi Adiche

Some women wait for themselves
Around the next corner
And call the empty spot peace
But the opposite of living
Is only not living
And the stars do not care.

Some women wait for something
To change and nothing
Does change
So they change


Audre Lorde

“Smiling as a greeting is a caring gesture we all like to share. Smiling as a conditioned response to submission, compliance to others, objectification of oneself, or denial of one’s needs, is injurious to oneself as a complete human being.”
— Geraldine Finn


Steve Bowler tweeted a photo of an assignment that his 8-year-old daughter’s teacher said she did incorrectly. The homework assignment had a list of toys or activities, and the kids were supposed to categorize them based on whether they were for boys, girls, or both, with equal numbers in each box. The assignment takes for granted the gendering of toys, and that there is a “correct” answer to the question of which gender they are appropriate for.

Bowler’s daughter did the assignment differently. After placing 3 items in the “boys” category and 2 in the “girls” group, she made additional boxes to add more things in the “both” column.

But at the bottom, the teacher notes that the assignment wasn’t done correctly. The point of the assignment is to categorize; the implicit message — that boys and girls are different types of people who like different types of things — isn’t questioned. A child sees this list of items and doesn’t gender them in the way the lesson took for granted; the reaction wasn’t to acknowledge her innovation and perhaps question the gendering, it was simply to say she did it wrong.

Bowler, for the record, said he was proud his daughter failed the assignment and just wished she’d done even worse on it.

via sociological images

[some gender-related bullshit removed.]

The fuckkk. 


Men who want to be feminist allies do not need to be given a space in feminism.  They need to take the space that they have in society and make it feminist.  That’s what women had to do in the first place, and women have fought much too hard for what little space they have to be giving it to men. 


Or, worse: 

“Oh, so you hate men?” 

“If you really want equality then shouldn’t you call yourself an egalitarian?” 

“You know, men have it just as hard as women do.” 

I think was about when men identify as feminists, it’s like, omg you’re SO cool, and when women do, it’s like you’re just typical PSMing women.

(via novembuary-deactivated20130829)

What charges is he facing, or are they just allegations, and does that matter before he crosses the Swedish border? Was it rape or just, in Galloway’s delicate phraseology, “bad sexual etiquette”? […]

Let’s be clear here: nobody should have to stifle one set of principles in order to allow another to live. If you choose to do so, that’s a matter for your conscience. For myself, I believe in freedom of speech, and in the power of journalism– it’s what I do for a living. I believe that governments need to be made to answer for pursuing profit in the name of peace and massacring thousands in the name of security. I believe in ending the age of secrecy, and I believe that the United States currently seeks to prevent that by pursuing and prosecuting hackers, whistleblowers and journalists across the world. And I also believe women.

I believe women when they say that their sexual consent is infringed, violently and coercively, by men they trust and admire, as well as by strangers. I believe that rape and sexual violence are wilfully ignored and misunderstood by governments except when the victims happen to be accusing radical transparency campaigners of assault. I believe that it is possible to believe women and to support Wikileaks at the same time without moral hypocrisy, and I believe that those across the left who seem to have a problem with holding those two simple ideas in their head at the same time need to ask themselves what accountability actually means.

Nobody should be forced to choose between defending investigative journalism and freedom of speech and fighting for justice in the global war on women’s bodies. So please, don’t ask if one alleged sex attacker out of hundreds of millions currently walking free and unpursued across three continents should be made to answer for his actions in a court of law when all that distinguishes him from the rest of the army of decent men doing despicable things to women without facing the consequences is the fact that he happens to have personally embarrassed several governments. Please don’t ask, because the answer hurts.

The answer is that of course, Julian Assange should be held to account, of course he should, and he should be held to account in a system where due process means something and women are respected, and currently that system does not exist. Come back to me when the 19,000 annual sex attacks committed by members of the US Army and private contractors against their own fellow soldiers are prosecuted. Come back to me when Private Bradley Manning is free. […]

It is not only possible to defend both women’s rights and freedom of speech. It is morally inconsistent to defend one without the other. Cultures of secrecy, covert violence and unaccountability need to be exposed. That’s what Wikileaks is supposed to be about, and it’s also what feminism is about, and right now, governments are terrified of both. That, if nothing else, should tell us where the lines of power are really drawn.

Click through to read the entire article, it’s on fucking point.

“Everyone likes black stuff when it’s not on a black person. Ask Elvis. Ask Led Zepplin. Ask the “Justins” – Timberlake and Bieber. Our music, asses, lips, hair, dance moves are all crass vulgarities until some non-white person “cleans them up” and “makes them accessible” by doing the exact same thing – but being white while doing it. And these days, you can be white and completely sincere about your love of R&B or Hip Hop or having a fat ass and society will still gladly put you on that “Oh, but a white person did it this time” pedestal – whether you asked for it or not. And they’ll go there “oooing” and “aaahing” as if your mentors and predecessors meant nothing. As if your pop n’ lock routine came to them mature and fully-formed like Venus from the sea foam.”

bell hooks resources


Edit 13th June: a lot of the PDFs have been taken down from those websites. There’s a .rar of the 16 from 24 June here, thanks to classickk. If THAT gets taken down, send me an ask.

If you have any more, or alternate links just in case these ever get removed, feel free to add to the list. Pass the resources along!

Edit as of 24 June: list updated and alphabetized. Many thanks to wretchedoftheearth, elainecastillo, grim-dark, erosum and mmmajestic who all helped add links and resources.
Edit 25 June. Thank you andreaisace. (I keep each of these edit-notes so I and people who’ve seen the post know if I’ve added any and which since the last time they saw it. The links go to the post in which each link was given)

America is almost unique in the civilised world for forcing pregnant prisoners to undergo childbirth cuffed and shackled

In 2007, a 17-year-old girl called Cora Fletcher was charged with retail theft. Over a year later, after she missed a court date, she was sent to the Cook County jail, in Illinois. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

During a pre-natal check-up at the facility, her baby appeared to have no heartbeat, so she was sent to the county hospital. As the medical team tried to induce her, Fletcher claims that both her hands and both her feet were shackled to either side of the bed. Only when she finally went into labor, three days later, was one hand and one foot released. It’s hard to imagine a more crucifying way to force a woman to try to give birth.

Sadly for Fletcher, there was no payoff for the trauma and humiliation she was forced to endure, as her baby was born dead.

(via guardiancomment)

Dear Mona Eltahawy: You do not represent “Us”


It all started this morning when Kawlture suggested we feature the Foreign Policy issue cover on our blog, the Mainstream Media and the Orient. I was on my phone and could not see the cover clearly. At first, I thought it was blackface, but upon zooming in and reading the the featured article title by Mona Eltahawy, my eyes weren’t fooling me. It really was a woman covered in a black body-painted niqab. 

They tell you don’t judge a book by its cover. But I, as an Arab-American Muslim woman, could not get that image out of my head long enough to even begin reading Mona’s article. I kept thinking about how the image degraded and insulted every woman I know that wears or has ever worn the niqab. The face veil is rooted in pre-Islamic history, and I’m not going to delve into it. If you want a more comprehensive read, I recommend Leila Ahmed’s Women and Gender in Islam. 

Today, those who are fixated on the niqab believe that focusing on what a Muslim woman wears is what defines her thought, her intellect, her capabilities, her sexuality, her gender, her very existence. It’s a narrative that’s been framed by the West and fed by the likes of Qasim Amin and even Hoda Sha’rawi. FP’s decision to choose this photograph of a naked woman with a body-painted niqab embodies this problematic narrative in more ways than one:

  1. This inherent sexualization of the niqab through the pose and exposure of the female form revives the classic harem literature and art, presenting the Arab and/or Muslim woman as “exotic” and “mysterious,” but still an object. An object lacking the agency to define herself, thus defined by others.
  2. All of the women close to me who wear the niqab do so for different reasons. One friend only wears the niqab when she goes protesting because she feels comfortable in it. Another friend has worn the niqab, against the will of her family, since she was 14 out of her own free will. The representation of the niqab as splattered body paint on a naked woman degrades the decision of women who wear the niqab as a choice.
  3. The feature of an Arab woman’s article on the front cover does not justify the editorial choice to use the image. Mona Eltahawy was notoriously owned during a debate over the niqab ban in France, where she took the position in favor of the ban. Her stance on the niqab is convenient to the narrative being perpetuated by the problematic image.

But I digress. On to Mona’s article, titled “Why Do They Hate Us.” As a writer, I’m aware that editors sometimes propose titles, but they usually inform writers of that change. At least, that was my experience with Foreign Policy (it was a piece they never published). However, immediately, the title sets off an alarm: the use of the first-person-plural. The first-person-plural can be appropriately used when the speaker has been elected to speak on behalf of the group they are speaking on behalf of. In this case, the “They” being Arab societies and “Us” being Arab women. Mona’s self-appointed representation of Arab women is neither professional nor accurate. While I sincerely value the freedom of self-expression and have not one problem with her expressing her views, but to do so on the behalf of all Arab women is enraging.

Her article presents a summary and background of the treatment of women in the region, paired with statistics and specific examples of cases from countries throughout the region, fluffed with emotional rhetoric, ending with a call for fighting against injustices. Every now and then, a different image of the nude woman with the body-painted niqab interrupts the commentary, fueling the rage all over again. 

She includes bits like:

I’ll never forget hearing that if a baby boy urinated on you, you could go ahead and pray in the same clothes, yet if a baby girl peed on you, you had to change. What on Earth in the girl’s urine made you impure? I wondered. Hatred of women.”


The Islamist hatred of women burns brightly across the region — now more than ever.


But at least Yemeni women can drive. It surely hasn’t ended their litany of problems, but it symbolizes freedom.”

Concluding with,

“We are more than our headscarves and our hymens. Listen to those of us fighting. Amplify the voices of the region and poke the hatred in its eye.”

The entire article is framed in a way that portrays Arab women as helpless, and in need of rescue and protection. It’s a convenient narrative for FP’s mostly Western-based readership. No mention of Tawakul Karman, Zainab and Maryam al-Khawaja, etc.—women who rose through the revolutions and were present in the public sphere during protests and demonstrations, standing alongside their compatriots demanding change and an end to injustices of all kinds. These women stood up as individuals and not as self-proclaimed representatives of Arab women.

Mona points to “hate” as the source and cause of the injustices committed against Arab women. She scapegoats the rise of the Islamists, but Maya Mikdashi debunked that argument a couple months ago:

Gender equality and justice should be a focus of progressive politics no matter who is in power. A selective fear of Islamists when it comes to women’s and LGBTQ rights has more to do with Islamophobia than a genuine concern with gender justice. Unfortunately, Islamists do not have an exclusive license to practice patriarchy and gender discrimination/oppression in the region. The secular state has been doing it fairly adequately for the last half a century.”

Yet, she entirely neglects the socioeconomic roots of gender inequality, the rise of authoritarian regimes in a post-colonialist context, the remnants of dehumanization and oppression from colonialism, the systematic exclusion of women from the political system or those who are used as convenient tools for the regime. There is more to gender inequality than just “hate.”

The true fight should be against the monolithic representation of women in the region, illustrated by an over-sexualized image of splattered black paint over a nude body. This does nothing to rectify the position of women in ANY society. 

(via sharquaouia-deactivated20121015)

"In Africa no man is allowed to be vulnerable," says RLP’s gender officer Salome Atim. "You have to be masculine, strong. You should never break down or cry. A man must be a leader and provide for the whole family. When he fails to reach that set standard, society perceives that there is something wrong."

Often, she says, wives who discover their husbands have been raped decide to leave them. “They ask me: ‘So now how am I going to live with him? As what? Is this still a husband? Is it a wife?’ They ask, ‘If he can be raped, who is protecting me?’ There’s one family I have been working closely with in which the husband has been raped twice. When his wife discovered this, she went home, packed her belongings, picked up their child and left. Of course that brought down this man’s heart.”

Back at RLP I’m told about the other ways in which their clients have been made to suffer. Men aren’t simply raped, they are forced to penetrate holes in banana trees that run with acidic sap, to sit with their genitals over a fire, to drag rocks tied to their penis, to give oral sex to queues of soldiers, to be penetrated with screwdrivers and sticks. Atim has now seen so many male survivors that, frequently, she can spot them the moment they sit down. “They tend to lean forward and will often sit on one buttock,” she tells me. “When they cough, they grab their lower regions. At times, they will stand up and there’s blood on the chair. And they often have some kind of smell.”


"International human rights law leaves out men in nearly all instruments designed to address sexual violence," she continues. "The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 treats wartime sexual violence as something that only impacts on women and girls… Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced $44m to implement this resolution. Because of its entirely exclusive focus on female victims, it seems unlikely that any of these new funds will reach the thousands of men and boys who suffer from this kind of abuse. Ignoring male rape not only neglects men, it also harms women by reinforcing a viewpoint that equates ‘female’ with ‘victim’, thus hampering our ability to see women as strong and empowered. In the same way, silence about male victims reinforces unhealthy expectations about men and their supposed invulnerability.”

Considering Dolan’s finding that “female rape is significantly underreported and male rape almost never”, I ask Stemple if, following her research, she believes it might be a hitherto unimagined part of all wars. “No one knows, but I do think it’s safe to say that it’s likely that it’s been a part of many wars throughout history and that taboo has played a part in the silence.”

As I leave Uganda, there’s a detail of a story that I can’t forget. Before receiving help from the RLP, one man went to see his local doctor. He told him he had been raped four times, that he was injured and depressed and his wife had threatened to leave him. The doctor gave him a Panadol.