Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the news this week

Feminism in the news? Never!

To start off, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced that women will now be permitted to vote in municipal elections and even run for positions on the Shura Council. I'm equal parts excited and hesitant about this new decision. On one hand, BIG APPLAUSE that the Saudi government has finally decided not "to marginalise women in society in all roles that comply with Sharia." On the other many elections does this actually include? So far, there's been one municipal election- the only public election in the country- and we still don't have word on whether Saudi activists have been successful in convincing the government that driving isn't a violation of Sharia. But it's a start!

Not headline news, but still important, is one author's response to a young girl's t-shirt at cheerleading practice. We get all riled up when WalMart sells children's knickers with "credit cards only" printed across the bum, but somehow we fail to be upset when Nike markets a t-shirt that not-so-subtly suggests that nonintellectual sideline activities are the proper place for women and girls?

On a more personal note, I was pleased to see this piece about Anna Paquin's continued public support of LGBTIQ rights. The article isn't that great- mostly celebrity gawking- but it highlights Paquin's self-outing and the way her husband publicly supports her. As a bi-queer woman in a monogamous marriage with a cis guy, I sometimes find it difficult to sort out my place in a movement where my relationship makes my sexuality publicly invisible. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who forces visibility on the diversity of sexuality and relationships by being outspoken!

Finally, here's an interesting piece from the UK rag The Daily Mail, which- while both poorly-written and rather offensive- does draw attention to disparate birth rates among women in different socioeconomic classes. If what the article says is true, then women in higher socioeconomic classes are having fewer children at a faster rate than women in lower socioeconomic classes. While I think the article fails to prevent any sense of "ZOMG POOR PEOPLE ARE TAKING OVER!!1!" or similarly ignorant interpretations of the data, I believe that the numbers could be important nonetheless. If the data is accurate, then it'll be important for us to reconsider broader social access to things like daycare, prenatal care, and parenting support because the broader social paradigm won't be "do it on your own" anymore.

That's it for this week, folks! Stay tuned for next week, which may or may not turn into a "The Daily Mail is pissing me off!" post.

1 comment:

  1. Awhile ago I asked myself what it really meant to value each human's worth equally. This isn't just a political question for me, but a faith-based one too, as I'm part of a faith predicated on the belief that all souls are great in the sight of God. Yet when I asked myself what that translated into when it comes to global discussions/ decisions, I was floored by the thought that every single uneducated person in every highly populated but impoverished country in the world would have just as much say as I and my friends each do. As cool as that thought is, I'm embarrassed to admit that it's also a bit scary for the control freak in me. Maybe we all have a bit of the "ZOMG! Poor people are taking over!" attitude.

    Then again, maybe it's just the Other.