[…]

First news from America that voters are influenced by the looks of female candidates – not really shocking news given that almost all groups are influenced in almost all settings by the looks of females from job interviews to personal judgements!

“Even female voters seemed to tap into the cultural expectation that women who are attractive as well as competent are more worthy of high status roles,” said Joan Y Chiao, an assistant professor of Psychology at the university.

The researchers said that though gender bias related to a female candidate’s attractiveness was consistent across both male and female voters, good looks was almost all that mattered in predicting men’s votes for female candidates. They added that competence, on the other hand, was almost all that mattered in predicting men’s votes for male candidates…Overall, voters perceived the faces of male politicians as more competent and dominant relative to female politicians, while female politicians were perceived as more attractive and approachable relative to males.

Meanwhile over here is an interesting, if somewhat wide-ranging, article on the sexual politics of decriminalising prostitution (Although comes with a NSFW picture). (EDIT – The article I tried to link to here has since disappeared. If I refind it somewhere I’ll add in a new link. Sorry.) Does that age old thing of conflating postfeminism and (here’s a hint, different names = different stances) but it’s interesting especially when read in conjunction with Ariel Troster’s piece on the same topic.

I Luv South Africa is highlighting child rape and gives some pretty terrifying statistics and case studies on sexual violence against children in the country including these.

  • A young girl born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than of learning how to read. (BBC News, April 2002)·
  • In South Africa, more than 1 million women and children are raped every year. (The London Times, October 14, 2004)·
  • Each and every day in South Africa, at least 50 children are victims of rape. (South African Press Association, June 2005)·
  • More than 90 percent of rape victims know their attackers. (South African Press Association, June 2005)·
  • In South Africa, one in four girls faces the prospect of being raped before her 16th birthday, according to the child support group, Childline South Africa. Source

Female legislators in Turkey are fighting to have penalities on sex crimes increased after a man was released from prison after just 40 days because a mental health report said his 14 year old victim was not harmed by the abuse she experienced from him.

And Feministe is highlighting new research which shows that women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence than non-disabled women. Also on Domestic Violence, but in the UK, is the BBC’s coverage of the fact that 16% of all violent crimes reported to the Police are domestic violence cases including forced marriages.

For the weekend fluff recommendation there is this piece arguing that Janet Jackson and Madonna represent two strands of women’s empowerment thinking.