Because we all know, don’t we, that women lie about rape.

Absolutely horrific and so so hard to read, but also so important to shed light on one of the many reasons why women ‘just don’t go to the cops straight after and get a rape kit’.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/the-story-of-louise-well-never-know-the-scale-of-the-rape-epidemic-in-sydney-20160221-gmzh62.html

One particular comment on the article articulates exactly where my frustrations lie:

Even in cases where a woman is gang-raped and beaten half to death, she still needs to defend her credibility. As though this is all just a bit of fun that got out of hand. And it’s no different in the courts. Cases abound where a perpetrator is convicted of assault and even grievous bodily harm, but acquitted of rape. In one quite famous Tasmanian case, the jury accepted that the perpetrator had fired a gun next to the victim’s head – there was incontrovertible evidence, after all, with a spent cartridge and a bullet hole – but STILL managed to conclude that the sex was consensual. Because apparently evidence that the perpetrator held the victim at gunpoint isn’t evidence that she didn’t consent.

Our system is grievously, grievously broken because it still appeals to the common knowledge of the totally uninformed. Because we all know, don’t we, that women lie about rape. – Lou

It is an absolute joke that Sydneysiders are punished with ridiculous lockout laws for a few dickheads who coward punch other men, but sexual assault and rape that us ‘feminazis’ have been screaming out about is something we ‘have to expect’ because we ‘acted/dressed/walked a certain way’. And God forbid anyone speaks up about it because they will then certainly be labelled a liar because ‘where’s the proof’?

Even after all this, it is still incredibly hard to get a rape conviction. Why?

Crimes against women never seem to get the same attention as crimes against men.

Look at the outrage and action from a few victims of cowards punches.

Yet women are being raped and killed in their own homes every week.

Victim blaming is still rife. – Steve

Instead of taking away the rights of the public, why aren’t we focussing on punishing the perpetrators of rape and assault? We created a specific sentencing for coward punches, but the justice system for rape, assault and domestic violence is still stuck in the dark ages where the victim (male, female or child) has to go through horrendous embarrassment (have you actually read about the rape kits? Would you want your rapist’s semen sitting in your body so tests can be run to prove you went through such an ordeal?) and relive the moment over and over in statements and in court with the likely outcome of their offenders not being prosecuted because of lack of evidence that it either happened or was consensual.

Our system is completely screwed when Luke Lazarus can anally rape a virgin but his sentence is overturned because of a technicality with the judge’s statement and so there could have been ‘reasonable belief’ that she consented to the sex. Even if she did consent initially, which is plausible, even if she then goes outside and goes ‘actually, I don’t think I’m up for anal as this is my first time’ (extremely plausible) there is no longer consent! Why are there not more processes put in place so these cases don’t become a he said/she said battle where the he always wins?

Why is the whole idea of women’s rights – to be equal to men, to be respected as much as men and to be supported by the government and society as much as men – so fricken hard for people to understand?

 

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Rewarding progress.

Diversity was the theme of the day at the 2015 Emmy’s. A few small steps add up to make positive change on female, racial and transgender rights.

  1. Viola Davis: “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
  2. #AskHerMore meant less ‘who are you wearing’ and more ‘who do you admire’ questions on the red carpet
  3. Andy Samberg called out Donald Trump on his racism
  4. ‘The Amys’ called out the ‘Worst Dressed’ coverage for what it really is
  5. Jon Hamm told it like it was: “People look back on those days through a thick veil of nostalgia, but life was hard if you were anything other than a rich, powerful, white male.”
  6. Uzo Aduba wins for OITNB, again!
  7. Jill Soloway: “People need to make an attempt to find identify and nurture people of colour, women, trans people, queer people, and include them in the creative process.”
  8. Jeffrey Tambor: “I’d like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for our inspiration. Thank you for letting us be part of the change.”

And here’s to more change.

Read the full article.

Who run the world?

This article shows 20 images taken by a Berlin photographer of India’s ‘Kingdom of Girls’ – part of the Khasi culture of India’s Meghalaya state.

Families in Khasi culture are matrilineal: Children take their mother’s last name, the youngest daughter in the family gets the inheritance and men move into their mother-in-law’s home after marriage.

I decided to make a portrait series of the girls because I was so impressed by their self-assured appearance and thought that this must be how matriliny becomes visible. I also wanted to show the girls’ everyday physical environment — where they live, how they play.

Girl 2

girl 3

girl 4

girl 5

girl 6

Read more >

Make-up artists, please carry Bobbi Brown skin foundation ‘Espresso’.

You may have seen the beautiful Nykhor Paul, a fashion modelfrom South Sudan, fill up your news feed recently. She has called out makeup artists for being ill-prepared to work with dark-skinned models and with many brand now catering for women of colour, there’s little excuse for professional makeup artists to not carry make-up for darker complexions.

Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least!

I’m tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?

Read the full article >

To all my Queens in the house.

So I saw Magic Mike XXL on the weekend and have been scouring the web (and by that I mean I clicked on the second page of google results) for a well constructed review of the feminist and racial undertones of the newest Magic Mike.

I struggled to find anything that articulates my thoughts on the movie in this context – that both celebrates it for its racial, age and ‘all body types’ inclusiveness with a focus on the deeper level of sexuality that many (not all) women need to be turned on,  but also acknowledges that it does feel a little superficial in its exploration; let’s go to a strip club that’s full of all African American women, and give lap dances to several overweight women (by hollywood standards), but ensure the main female love interest is a skinny white female (but having said that is bisexual in the film soooo again is inclusive, ugh I’m confused).

Some quotes from one review that stood out to me here:

I think it’s appalling that for a long time only women were objectified, but I think if we really want to advocate for equality, it’s important to even things out. Not objectify women less, but objectify men just as often as we objectify women. – Chris Pratt

No one does sex for women well — not in film and not on TV. Women are accustomed to seeing distorted images of themselves reflected back by way of the male gaze, but media that operates from the nexus of a woman’s desire is still so rare – Jill Soloway

You begin to see that “the female gaze” may not just consist of the camera panning down the male body, or putting women in traditionally male roles, but also about embracing aesthetic preferences that disrupt linear, conflict- and violence-ridden storytelling structures with lingering romantic awkwardness, offbeat humor, earnest themes, and occasionally fanciful song and dance routines that defy reality.

But hey, how much less realistic is solving a plot problem via choreography than solving one through blowing things up, after all, and walking away casually? The point is, the doorway is widening. And the more diverse ways we have of telling mainstream stories, the more likely audiences  will find something that speaks to them, irregardless of gender expression or identity.

I also aligned with some elements of this article in terms of encouraging men to watch these kind of videos to address the whole ‘teach men not to rape’ argument.

Too many men, I fear, do not know what the face of a joyfully turned-on woman looks like. Moreover, too many men do not care. “Smile,” they leer at her, as she walks by on the street. Not because she looks sad, but because she is not pretending to be happy. Because she is not outwardly focused on presenting an appealing facade.

Perhaps these men have been told, too many times over by too many movies, books, stories, rock songs, that their own desire is paramount, and that women are the ones who must strive to stroke, as it were, their egos. Perhaps they’ve been told that “sexy” is something women do at men and for men, but never for themselves.

I am tired, so tired, of the onus being put on rape and sexual assault victims and survivors to prevent their own abuse and harassment. I believe, as deeply as I believe anything, that the solution to rape culture is to teach men to treat women like people, and not only to value their enthusiastic consent but to derive their own incredible pleasure from it.

But I have (too) often wondered: How? How, when so many stories we tell about romance and sex fail to show this version of empathetic, differently empowered masculinity to the men who need to see it most. Magic Mike XXL is the narrative I’ve—we’ve—been looking for.

And in case you think I live under some sort of feminist rock, I of course read Roxanne Gay’s review and while a fabulous read (alert, spoilers!) I do still feel if we’re critically analysing the film, it was a little 101 (hello, Mike just happens to drop into conversation he believes God is a woman? Is this really necessary for the plot line or more likely a conveniently dropped in feminist stance to win over all the women in the audience [and it worked]?).

And just because it appeals to Roxanne (and myself, and millions of other women’s) ideas of sexuality, doesn’t mean it’s all encompassing for every woman’s desire or pleasure (and the movie doesn’t need to be condemned for this but it’s important this is acknowledged). Still, I for the most part agree with Roxanne, namely:

Jada Pinkett is flawless in this movie. She is utterly flawless and sexy and charismatic and I hope she gets the bigger roles she deserves.

And most certainly:

Rome warns the audience at the convention that women not on birth control should proceed to the nearest exit because some grown woman shit is about to go down. She ain’t never lied. Grown woman shit is exactly what goes down. I feel like I got a little bit pregnant (quadruplets, probably) from what happened next.

In summary, go watch. You’ll likely enjoy it (just don’t focus on the storyline too much, the gyrating and stimulated sex by Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello to music like Nine Inch Nails ‘Animal’ makes up for it, I promise 😉

A reminder inequality is still everywhere.

With the celebrations of the last few days, it’s easy to forget that there is still a giant, treacherous mountain in front of us when it comes to equality for all.

While Friday’s ruling for same sex marriage is a giant win in a long and tiring fight for equal rights, there are still big fights to fight:

Whether I am legally married or not, the rainbow flag of LGBTQ equality will never shield my black body from a reckless police officer’s bullet. I cannot summon enough pride to prevent my black, gay body from being the target of white racial supremacy. I cannot selectively choose which fight I can show up for, because mere survival requires me to fight for racial, sexual, gender, economic and social justice at once.

I slightly disagree with the below – I think even with the passiveness of the ‘slacktavist’, clicking a button to change their profile showing their support and celebrating what is a major win for equality spreads awareness and acceptance – however, I think it’s important to point out that this can’t be seen as the end point of our fight, merely another tick on a long list of changes that must happen in our society.

LGBTQ celebration should not overshadow the tragedy of black death and inequity. Not while white LGBTQ people refuse to confront the anti-black racism within their liberal communities. Not while marriage equality work can amass more money than programming for trans women of color and LGBTQ youth. Not while undocumented LGBTQ people continue to be detained and abused by the state. Not while I must daily argue for the mattering of black lives.

Read more >

My stealthy freedom.

You have to love a social awareness campaign that promotes equality through powerful imagery. Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad has created the “My Stealthy Freedom” campaign in which women in Iran take photos of them removing the the hijab in a protest for gender equality. 

Men in Iran are educated and cultured. They are reacting positively because they support women having the freedom to choose. It is only the government who claims a woman who does not cover her head is bad.

My Stealthy Freedom receives support from women who want and don’t want to cover their head alike; it is about the right to choose, not about insulting Islam.

 Islamic veils 101: 
View the beautiful images here >

Baltimore celebrates justice for Freddie Gray murder.

Finally justice for those in Baltimore as the State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announces six police offices have been charged over the source of the Baltimore riots. The police officers’ unlawful actions resulted in the death of Gray on April 19 from a spinal cord injury, after being transported in a police van without being given a seat belt or adequate medical attention.

Mosby thanked protesters who rallied against injustice in a peaceful manner along with those who protected the city against those trying to inflict damage and harm.

“No one is above the law and I will pursue justice.”

Read more here >

What Martin Luther King Jr has to say about the Baltimore riots.

martin-luther-king-quote-a-riot-is-the-language-of-the-unheard

And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity.

Read the full article here >

You just got schooled on cultural appropriation by a 16-year-old.

Holy shit this video is amazing. Amandla Stenberg, the 16-year-old ‘Hunger Games’ actress (and I highlight her age because she has a better grasp of race issues than majority of people twice her age) eloquently explains how pop culture has appropriated elements of black culture (eg cornrows, braids, grills, twerking) and the issue that many of the white artists who have adopted elements of black culture have “failed to speak on the racism that comes along with black identity”, especially in light of the current protests in the US for police brutality against black people.

“Hip hop stems from black struggle, from jazz and blues, styles of music that were created to retain humanity in the face of adversity.”

“What would America be like if it loved black people as much as it loves black culture?”

Originally sourced from BuzzFeed News.

White is always in fashion.

A great article in Daily Life that highlights the lack of racial diversity in Australian advertising and media.

The exclusion of people of colour renders them so insignificant that advertisers need not bother acknowledging their existence at all.

Read article >

Everyday inequalities highlighted through satirical illustration.

These satirical illustrations by Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski highlight inequalities in everyday life. Sometimes we are so engrained in the day to day we just accept inequalities without question.

Illustrations sourced (and more available) from Truth Seeker Daily