Another round-up

An anti-abortion group hopes to buy the Wichita, US, clinic of murdered abortion-provider Dr George Tiller, in a spectacularly crude move.

Students at an Oxford University college have voted in “a ‘white heterosexual male officer’ to represent their interests on the formal student body”:

Andrew Lowe’s manifesto pledges to replace St Anne’s college crèche with a finishing school, ban women from the library and save money by getting female students to serve food in halls instead of kitchen staff. Further gems include extra funding for “middle-class activities” and moves to prevent college authorities from banning “any act succeeded by the word ‘lad’ or ‘banter'”.

Apparently it’s meant to be a joke. Guess what, not funny.

Rosa, which funds UK projects working with women and girls, celebrated its first birthday this week and announced its first grants. The Women’s Resource Centre blog has more.

The Continental Network of Indigenous Women has written an open letter to the Peruvian government about the recent violent clashes between government and Indigenous protestors. myMADRE has posted the letter and some background info.

Meem has published a book, Bareed Mista3jil: True Stories, which collects 41 stories from “lesbians, bisexuals, queer and questioning women, and transgender persons from all over Lebanon”. You can read extracts from the book, available in Arabic and English, on the book’s website. More info and photos at AfterEllen.

A guest post at Racialicious considers the history of those “harem” trousers that are so popular at the moment…

In 1911, the same year that Morocco was named a protectorate of France, famed Parisian fashion designer Paul Poiret “introduced” the harem pant to avant-garde aesthetes alongside caftans, headdresses, turbans and tunics in an Orientalist collection. Those items deemed “traditional” and “backward” when worn on a native body were thus transformed as “fashion forward” when worn on a Western one, in what amounted to the blatantly uneven, and undeniably geopolitical, distribution of aesthetic value and modern personhood.

More on trousers at Sociological Images, where an ad for unisex ‘pants’ from the 60s/70s prompts this thought:

As an exercise I sometimes ask the students in my gender class to try on the pants of their friends of the opposite sex. That is, I ask women to try on men’s pants and men to try on women’s pants. They often react with surprise at how effectively the jeans make their bodies look like the bodies of their opposite sex friends. (Women often complain that their guy friends look “better” in their jeans than they do!) This starts a discussion of the many ways that our choices about what to wear make it appear as if our bodies are in fact “opposite” when, in fact, they’re not quite as different as we often believe.

We dress ourselves to emphasize certain beliefs about what men’s and women’s bodies should look like by choice, because not doing so carries some negative consequences, and because doing so is institutionalized. It’s institutionalized insofar as department stores have separate men’s and women’s sections (and no unisex section) and jeans are made for and marketed as men’s and women’s.

Lenin’s Tomb posts about some polling data revealing the wider views of BNP voters:

Most of their voters are not signed up to the BNP’s wholesale Holocaust-denial, although a disproportionate number of them are. So, what we are seeing is not so much support for the BNP’s illicit Nazism, but rather support for segregation, racial privilege, ‘soft’ ethnic cleansing, and authoritarianism. I need hardly say that this is itself a significant menace and challenge. It is on the basis of such reactionary views that fascists have always built up support. And it is this layer of ‘soft’ racists whom the BNP seek to cultivate, draw in and convert to fascism proper. This is the process we need to interrupt.

A letter on NPR prompts a post on AfterEllen about Pixar’s lack of decent female characters, particularly ones that are not princesses:

Some of us will certainly identify with a girl who’d rather be an archer than a princess. But many of us might prefer to identify with a girl who was a fish or an ant or a monster — or just a girl in search of adventure. But as a blogger who is much less patient with Pixar than Holmes is notes, “male is neutral and female is particular.”

Employers are using the credit crunch as an excuse to target pregnant women with redundancy, reports the Guardian:

The government is not collecting data on this kind of discrimination, and it is too early for the tribunals service to have tracked a spike, but campaigners say a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests there has been a steep increase. Camilla Palmer, a lawyer specialising in pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination with Leigh Day & Co, said that more people were losing their jobs across the board, but that pregnant women and new mothers appeared to be disproportionately affected.

Laurie Penny posts on Andrea Dworkin’s book Intercourse, and reactions to her work in general.

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