Weekly round-up and open thread

It’s time for another weekly round-up where we share (what we see as) the most interesting and important articles from the previous seven days. We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the issues covered in the articles we’ve picked.

As always, linking to articles does not mean endorsement from The F-Word and certain links may be triggering. We welcome debate in the comments section and on Facebook/Twitter but remind readers that any comments containing sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist language will be deleted immediately. If you notice that we’ve missed out any important articles from the past week, feel free to let us know.

As the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, Bernardine Evaristo deserved to win alone (Sunny Singh, gal-dem)

From the article: “Bernardine Evaristo deserved to win the 2019 Booker Prize for her tour de force, Girl, Woman, Other. She also deserved to win it on her own, for a book detailing with exquisite delicacy and resilience what it means to be a black woman in our world. She definitely did not deserve to have to share the prize with a writer whose fictional ethnic cleansing of people of colour remains for the most part unexamined in the first novel, and whose “sequel”, which took the top prize alongside Evaristo’s book, remains a testament to unchecked, unconsidered white women’s privilege.”

I thought I knew about feminism – then I started work in a women’s prison (Mim Skinner, The Guardian)

From the article: “In 2015, two years after graduating, I began a job working in a high-security women’s prison. I had read enough statistics and policy reports before I started to know that women in prisons were in desperate need of a little female empowerment. But what I quickly learned was that my feminist education had a thick wedge of information missing: namely, the part where it connected to actual women being very fundamentally oppressed because of their gender. Confronted by someone whose cervix had been plugged with four egg-sized capsules of crack cocaine on the behest of a controlling boyfriend who would reap the profits, I found it difficult to work out quite how my Frida Kahlo T-shirt and mansplaining radar were going to help things.”

‘You’ve won a boob job!’ – Is The Surjury the sickest reality TV yet? (The Guardian, Stuart Heritage)

From the article: “The Surjury […]sounds a hell of a lot like an extremely terrible version of Take Me Out, where people with body dysmorphia will have to charm an unsmiling wall of strangers into letting them cut their face open. It’s a show where the worst possible outcome for the contestants is that they’ll go home upset because they still look like themselves.”

Hilary Clinton and the TERF trap (Esther Wang, Jezebel)

From the article: “Much of the response to this interview has pointed to Hillary’s remarks as proof that she is a TERF, which is not quite right, unless the term TERF has come to encompass any woman who holds casually transphobic views. (One could, and should, argue that it should not be so ‘difficult,’ as she put it, to support and affirm people’s self-determination.)

“How generously should one read Clinton’s interview with the Sunday Times? At best, Clinton is attempting to make an argument that times have changed, and that some people are struggling to evolve, but we should be thankful that they’re trying. But Clinton, by painting the effort to understand and accept trans people, and trans women in particular, as an almost heroic one, is revealing her own biases. It’s a belief that skirts this close to TERF logic, before scooting away from the edge.”

Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush, and the death of uncritical niceness (Constance Grady, Vox)
From the article: “The niceness Ellen DeGeneres is celebrating in her friendship with George W. Bush – the niceness that she is extraordinarily skilled at performing – is not about kindness for the powerless. It’s about kindness for the powerful, for the people who helped to set in place the problems the rest of us are currently living in. It’s about avoiding messy social confrontations and awkwardness by being nice to those who have made the world a worse place.”

Environmental activism has a class problem (Phoebe Bunt, Varsity)

I could write a book about the racism I’ve experienced running for office in the last 18 months (Faiza Shaheen, Independent)

The Case for Checking a Bag (Gay Mag, Roxane Gay)

From the article: “I almost always check a bag. I check a very big bag. The reality is that if your luggage is lost, it will suck and then life will go on. Chances are that stores exist wherever you are travelling. You can get a new toothbrush or a pair of clean underwear or a clean shirt to wear, at whatever price point you prefer. Now, for those of us who are fat, this is, indeed, more challenging and whether to check a bag or not becomes a bit more complicated. Our clothes take up more room so we can’t really pack adequately for a long trip using a carry-on but we also cannot trust that we will find stores or friends with clothing options in our size where we are traveling so we’re taking a bit of a chance when we check our bag. We are living on the edge.”

The Wing: how an exclusive women’s club sparked a thousand arguments (The Guardian, Linda Kinstler)

From the article: “The Wing has found itself trying to please all sides, in the process finding itself attacked from all sides, often within its own walls. It is an easy target, and the fact that it is owned and operated by women makes it all the more so. Where its programming and brand have conflicted with the aims of progressive politics, its members have called the company out. Yet anyone who criticises The Wing may expect to be swiftly criticised in turn, on one side for poking holes in an otherwise admirable project, and on the other for paying it any attention at all. All parties involved might expect their exchange to be followed by a polite reminder of the specific actions that The Wing has taken to respond to the initial criticism, and perhaps an invitation to continue their discussion in a panel event. To begin to reckon with The Wing’s project is to risk entering an ‘ouroboros of doom’, as the writer and illustrator Shelby Lorman put it. “It feels like such a perfect metaphor,” she said, for the many tangled and charged disagreements over what it means to be a modern woman, feminist and political subject.”

Penguin Press wins ‘intimate history’ of post-war British black women (The Bookseller, Benedicte Page)

From the article: “Jade Bentil is a brilliant, radical new voice, and we couldn’t be more proud and excited to welcome her to Allen Lane. Rebel Citizen is an astonishing proposal for what will be an intimate, moving and profoundly important piece of oral history: one that recovers the story of black women’s lives at the margins of British society, where they started to carve out rule-breaking modes of living. In doing so, Jade presents nothing less than a completely new portrait of Britain. It’s the first, extraordinary statement by a scholar with an exceptional and thrilling future ahead of her.”

The #MeToo Movement Impacted Teens. But Not How You Might Think (Vice, Hannah Ewens)

From the article: “From the teens who didn’t quite understand what the movement was to those who thought it’d gone too far, when I asked young British people what they really thought of the #MeToo movement I was surprised. Their answers might surprise you”.

UK to deport academic to Democratic Republic of Congo – which she has never visited (The Guardian, Anna Fazackerley)

From the article: “Her case will add to mounting anger among academics, who say the hostile immigration environment is making Britain unattractive to talented researchers. Last month the Guardian reported that an American music historian, Dr Elizabeth Ford, who was about to start a fellowship at Oxford University, was given two weeks to leave after eight years in the UK. Also last month, the Home Office refused visas for the young children of Prof Amber Murrey, a second American academic at Oxford, to live with her in the UK.”

Why is Elizabeth Warren vague on healthcare? To allow herself wiggle room (The Guardian, Art Cullen)

From the article: “‘I am a capitalist,’ declares Warren, reared an Oklahoma Republican. Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt or his cousin Teddy. That’s her platform: plain old progressive populist stuff built around anti-trust, reining in Wall Street and stitching a safety net for those of us left as capitalism’s flotsam. Nothing new there, really.”

One in three female comics has been sexually harassed on stage (Chortle)

Right-wing media and think tanks are aligning with fake feminists who dehumanize trans people (Media Matters for America)

From the article: “TERFs’ embrace of supposedly feminist aesthetics and rhetoric can make it more difficult for media consumers to identify what they really stand for, and right-wing media take advantage of this confusion to push the illusion that activists ‘on the Left’ share their anti-trans agenda. But TERFs are distinctly on the side of right-wing groups, and they have even allied with the efforts of national anti-LGBTQ groups to oppose trans rights in the judicial system.”

The image is used under a creative commons license with thanks to Clare Black on Flickr. It is a black and white photo of a person reading a book on a bed. The person has short, dark hair and is wearing a light-coloured polo shirt and ripped jeans. Their surroundings are cosy looking with bedside lamps, paintings on the wall and a candle burning on the bedside table.