Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In the News

Dearest Readers, this long-overdue post is a hodgepodge of links, which I haven't even bothered to proofread. Internet grammar hawks, read at your own risk.

Recently I wrote an article for Patheos about why feminism needs to be about men, as well as about women. One of my major concerns is that far too few conversations recognize the prevalence with which men are victims of sexual assault. When any female feminist tries to banish the topic of male victimhood from the feminist movement, that rejection and denial only adds to the cultural stigma which these survivors are already fighting to tear down. In a heart-breaking but very necessary project, 27 men share what they were told by perpetrators and/or those they confided in [trigger warning]. Far too many were told that "men can't be raped" or to "man up" and simply get over symptoms of PTSD. I've done enough research to verify that these responses are both common for and feared by male survivors of sexual assault.

If you have sensibilities anything like mine, you might not want to hang out at the beaches in Stockholm now that a judge has ruled public masturbation at the beach to be legal. Yes, you read that correctly. When a man was arrested for doing just that, the court ruled that it could not be considered sexual assault, since it was not directed at any one individual. Apparently the city of Stockholm did not feel it had enough negative connotations attached to its name already.

Next up, for the first time ever, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is live-broadcasting the Priesthood Session of General Conference on the internet and television. Some context: the Mormon bloggernacle (and all of facebook) has been alight recently with debates about female ordination and the role of Mormon women in a church whose hierarchy fills all of the highest position with (predominately white and affluent) men. Understand, please, that I'm stating a fact about the demographics in church leadership and not actually attempting to pass judgment on those demographics one way or another. Make of the facts what you will.

While female ordination has been an ongoing debate for years, the Ordain Women website and organization recently sparked new discussions by requesting tickets to the Priesthood Session of the Church's Semi-Annual General Conference. General Conference runs over the course of two weekends and includes four 2-hour sessions for general audiences, plus a 1-hour session for either adult women or teenage women depending on whether it's Fall of Spring. The conferences take place in Salt Lake City in the Conference Center but are broadcast live all over the world. Up until now, only the Priesthood session was not broadcast live on the internet and TV. Why not? I can't really say - maybe to encourage men to watch it together at church, or perhaps to make sure women didn't feel obligated to watch the session.

Whatever the reason for making the session more restrictive than others, OW's plan of showing up at the conference center unleashed enough harsh responses on the internet that I'll admit I'm trying to forget which of my friends proudly wrote (or shared another's writing) about feeling angry at or hating all the feminists who wanted to be ordained. Let's just say that I've officially lost all patience for anyone who dismisses another's desire for ordination. Disagree with their methods all you want, but don't you dare assume their desire for greater power to serve the Lord is inherently wrong. Granted, some of the tension happened within Mormon feminism, much of it in response to Patheos articles written by Margaret Young. Young has written a lovely follow-up post with ideas on how we can all be more inclusive.

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