Feminist Files: We are all Steubenville

  • Blame it on the red tape: City officials for Steubenville, Ohio have started a blog to “disseminate the most accurate information” regarding the (alleged) gang rape of a 16-year-old girl by the city’s high school football team. I suppose this is one of those the-best-defense-is-a-good-offense approaches after they’ve been publicly shamed by the hacker collective Anonymous in multiple protests and online campaigns. I think if there’s one thing we learn from what is happening in Steubenville, it is to see exactly what is broken in our criminal justice system (where many police departments have little to no training in dealing with survivors of sexual violence and departments continue to offer myths as “awareness”) and legislative process. We are nation that villainizes victims of sexual violence while offering life-preservers to accused perpetrators. (This is a symptom of Rape Culture, by the way.) Every community in America is Steubenville. If we are not outraged and trying to change the system, then we are complicit in a system that openly disdains and devalues survivors of rape and other sexual violence for the sake of the status quo.
  • Can you read this now? GLAAD is circulating an online petition to encourage internet filtering company Blue Coat to drop its policy of blocking sites with LGBT content. Blocking sites just because they mention LGBT stuff? Seems so 1984 — both metaphorically and historically.
  • Homeless: A new study reports that as much as 40 percent of the homeless population are LGBT youth. While homelessness in the LGBT youth community is not news, statistics like these may help us begin to really address the situation. We can do better.
  • Debt Truthiness: Desert Beacon has the Five Quick Reasons the Debt Ceiling Argument is a Farce. (Hint: Just remember, the ones who smelt it, dealt it.)
  • Skinning the Hyde Amendment: This post serves as a good reminder that the Hyde Amendment is just that, a rider tacked on to a bill. That means it can be stripped or repealed anytime we want to value all women equally (because denying government funding to abortions disproportionately affects women of color and poor women). There’s never been a better time than right now.
  • The Specials: When legislation like the Violence Against Women Act fails to get re-upped because of a deeply entrenched cultural racism (leaving out Native American women and immigrants demonstrates an open disregard for women of color) and hatred of gay women, it is an obvious display of segregating the women who are “worthy” of protection from those who are not. And since VAWA did not get reauthorized, it’s clear that when push comes to shove, some members of Congress are fine with throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (If they can’t leave Native American women out of a law designed to protect women, well then, fuck ’em all, right Sen. Chuck Grassley?)
  • On the comfort of ritual: In the feminist community, we talk a lot about the beauty myth and unrealistic standards of beauty. These are often propagated by the media (and creative photoshopping) and by our own gender policing. Women are supposed to look a certain way. These are important discussions. But I admit, I had not considered that for some women, the rituals of makeup could help lessen the sting of falling short of the so-called “perfection” of women all around us. For those who suffer from eating disorders or even simply feel like they are “not enough,” makeup and beauty regimens can be a comfort. Food for thought.

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