Archives: March 2012

If the victim is black: not much, apparently.

The recent chin-stroking by various people regarding Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of a vigilante crank is shameful. I was reminded of Maia’s commentary on the victim-blaming attending the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. (In an astonishing coincidence, both Martin and DSK’s victim, Nafissatou Diallo, were black.)

Here’s Maia:

Women with boyfriends in jail can be raped.
Women with multiple cell phones can be raped.
Women who need money can be raped.
Women who can’t read or write the language of the country they are in can be raped.
Sex workers can be raped.
Women who lie on their tax forms can be raped.
Women who’ve lied about rape in the past can be raped.
Women who launder money can be raped.
Women who have told that their actual oppression is not enough to get them asylum, and so have to learn a story that will can be raped.
Women who have many truths they cannot tell to authorities can be raped.

Let’s use Maia’s post as a template to follow the chin-stroking commenters’ logic to its logical conclusion:

Teenagers who wear hoodies can be killed.
Teenagers who fight back against creepy stalkers can be killed. (Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was on top of him and had bashed him are looking dubious.)
Teenagers who have been suspended from school can be killed.
Teenagers who have used marijuana can be killed. (Martin was found with an empty baggie which may have once contained marijuana. (Be very afraid, Melbourne elite grammar school children!)
Teenagers who walk through a gated community, “just looking at houses”, can be killed.

Disclaimer: Trayvon Martin is not necessarily “guilty” of any of the above – actions, anyway, which would earn a minor warning for a white boy from the upper middle class. These are from a smear campaign which has been mounted against Trayvon by right wing bloggers, allegedly helped along by leaks from the Sanford PD, under scrutiny for their non-handling of the case. More here (Via).

Renee Martin of Womanist Musings writes about the challenges faced by the mother of an African-American son. All parents worry that some accident or tragedy will befall their children. It’s obscene that some mothers have the bonus worry of wondering if or when their child will be randomly targeted by a killer or by law enforcement because of their skin colour. Here’s a wry commentary on a “safe” dress code for black teenagers.

We can’t sit back smugly and tell ourselves this just a US issue. This is very much an Australian issue, too.

14 Mar 2012, Comments (5)

Doonesbury: Signal boost

Author: Helen

Doonesbury’s cartoons about the new Texas HB-15 legislation, requiring women to have an intravaginal ultrasound before they are allowed to have an abortion are up in their entirety at Gawker.
Update 15/3: Well, that didn’t take long. They’ve been pulled. Trudeau publishes the strips on his own site, but not in their entirety at the moment – the story’s still unfolding. As this is a dynamic page, if the strip has moved on, look for March 12 2012 and go from there.

Part of the Doonesbury "Shaming room" strip. Doctor reads from a sheet: "On behalf of Governor Rick Perry, we welcome you to your compulsory transvaginal exam."

US newspapers are avoiding publication of these strips, so I thought I’d pass them on.

The aforementioned mainstream media were all pearl-clutching about the reference to these compulsory sonograms as rape (using scare quotes, as in, “rape”.) Garry Trudeau, on the other hand, is under no illusions.

Texas’s HB-15 [bill] isn’t hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. The World Health Organization defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.” You tell me the difference.

Good on him.

And boo to Pru Goward. (H/T Someone whose identity I’ve unfortunately forgotten on Twitter.)

This year, ActionAid, which is a non-profit aid organisation formed to fight poverty and promote the rights of marginalised people, has created a new campaign around IWD focusing on violence against women. They’ve created this infographic, which they encourage you to share via your preferred social media. (It’s large, so I’ve put it after the jump…)

The other day I stopped to let a woman do an U-turn in front of me, taking the opportunity to drool at her car. A lovely, lovely FC holden, built around 1958-1960, two-tone paint and chrome immaculate. The driver flashed a smile at me: she had hair and makeup to go with the car, the full Betty Page Lindy Hop lipstick and black bangs. I do love retro and the people with the time, patience and money to do it well.

I just think the retro thing shouldn’t extend to our social mores.

I’ve meant to write about the awful journalistic habit of identifying women by the former contents of their uterus whenever they’re in the news: e.g. Mum, Mother of Three, Mother. They don’t even have to go as far as Kevin Rudd with “childless” (and we all remember Bill Heffernan’s “Deliberately Barren”) in order to give the impression that we’re just worth more when we’ve fulfilled our biological destiny given birth. usually, of course, the woman being a mother or not is irrelevant to the news item, except as a kind of muttered subtext. Fatal car accident – Orphaned children. Attainment of high office, prestigious award, etc – neglected children.

Both the Hun and the AGE ramped it up a notch yesterday with “married mother”. Married mother??

Screenshot of link on the AGE Web page - Three boys jailed for their roles in raping a young married mother...

(The HUN treatment of the whole thing is a complete dogs’ breakfast of intersectional fail, as Bolta pounces, gleefully, on the attackers’skin colour, because as we all know, white people never rape.)

Obviously, the articles imply, we would not give a toss about her having been raped if she was one of those slutty, slutty unmarried mothers.

I was happy to see that someone else noticed, too, and got a letter printed in the AGE about it.

Down Under Feminists Carnival
Oops! I vagued out and missed a month. Yes, February, it just whizzed by.

So here are the links to not one but two carnivals: Number 45 from Maybe it Means Nothing – Lots of NZ as well as Australian goodness here.

The Balcony gets a mention, which makes me feel even worse for missing it.

And Down Under Feminist Carnival no. 46 is brought to you by Chally of Zero at the Bone, also Hoyden about Town, and who also coordinates the whole thing. Props to you, Chally, and thanks both of you for the link love.