WAM! Ladydinner

Remember Women, Action & the Media, the organization working with Facebook to change their approach to misogynistic hate speech?

Well last night, I attended WAM! Los Angeles‘s ‘Ladydinnner’, and had a ball. SO many badass women (and 1 kickass man.) Filmmakers, tv writers, journalists, organizers, activists, an editor from Ms. Magazine, the creators of The Big Feminist BUT comic book… And Mexican food. Just fantastic.

If you’re so inclined, check out their shiny new site and get involved in a branch near you (or start one!)


Steubenville Followup from The New Yorker

I’ve been swamped this week, Vagina News friends, but wanted to share this article.

It’s long, and problematic in lots of ways, but it does a good job of a few things:

  • Explaining what rape culture is, and that yes, it exists
  • Providing several examples of ongoing protectionism and victim-blaming in Steubenville
  • Illustrating the complicated nature of misogyny and rape culture, in which there are rarely clear ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The Return of Mr. Douchehat

Ross Douthat (affectionately known to Vagina News readers as Mr. Douchehat) has written another piece of crap op-ed in the New York Times, this time about the virtue of Texas’s recently-passed restrictions on access to legal abortion.  (You may recall his previous screed on the “decadence” of women who choose not to have children. This guy and I would make quite a sitcom.)

One of many things he fails to mention in his defense of Texas’s new law is that it’s unConstitutional, as it restricts abortion at 20 weeks, at least 4 weeks earlier than Roe v. Wade.  He critiques opponents of the law for comparing apples to oranges in their warnings that the rest of the world has already shown us how such restrictive laws play out; But comparing it to our very own Constitution is apparently outside his scope.

He does mention an “inevitable court challenge,” but he leaves out the part about how that inevitability is driven by the law’s place amid a national anti-choice strategy to pass a glut of blatantly unConstitutional abortion restrictions, in the hopes that one will make it the Supreme Court in time to overturn Roe – at the cost of many tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Talk about decadent.

I know my play on his name is cheap. But so are his arguments, so let’s call it even.

Thank you Helen Thomas

Today, we learned of the passing of Helen Thomas. 

The most oft-repeated impressive fact about her career is that she covered every President from JFK to Obama. But there’s much more to celebrate. Here are a few articles detailing her accomplishments, and some of the praise she’s earned from Presidents and others over the years.

I just want to especially highlight a few achievements of particular importance to your Vagina News host.

She was the first female journalist to cover the President, rather than the First Lady and their children. She was the first woman admitted to the White House Correspondents Association. In 1962, she got then-President Kennedy to say he would not attend the Association’s annual Correspondent’s dinner unless it was opened to women for the first time. (It worked.) In 1975, she became the first female President of the Association.

It’s hard to overstate her role in opening the professional of journalism to women – and it’s even harder to overstate the impact of those women on the direction of news and public discourse in the 20th century.

Thank you, Helen Thomas, for your strength, intelligence, and tenacity. We honor you. 


Facebook Update

Remember the effort to get Facebook to stop ignoring content containing misogynistic hate speech?  Well, after seeing some disappointing reports about their progress, I reached out to WAM!, the organization working with Facebook to implement the necessary changes. They’ve provided an update which I found valuable, and I think you might too.

Onward and upward! 

Compton’s New Mayor

There’s a great article in this week’s LA Weekly (Los Angeles’s ‘indie’ paper, owned by Village Voice Media) about the new mayor of Compton – referred to as ‘the murder capital of the world’ and ‘America’s most dangerous city,’ epicenter of the 1992 LA riots, home of LA’s deadliest gangs, formerly run by a man who described himself as a “gangster mayor” who was spared from corruption charges because he didn’t know what corruption was.

Compton’s new mayor is Aja Brown, a 31-year old woman. 

Her grandmother was raped an murdered in 1973 in Compton. Aja Brown wasn’t raised there, but after earning a graduate degree in urban planning from USC, she moved back. 

It’s a long article, so I leave you to read as you wish. But allow me to draw your attention to a particularly salient post in the comments section:

Here’s that link if you want to read it.