feminist news round-up 19.08.12
pussy riot found guilty
Three members of Russian girl band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of hooliganism for staging a protest against President Vladamir Putin at the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February and sentenced to two years in a labour camp. Judge Marina Sirovaya said that their performance of Punk Prayer, which includes the lyrics ‘Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away’ and ‘shit, shit, the Lord’s shit’, and which asks the Virgin Mary to ‘become a feminist’, was blasphemous and offensive to Russian Orthodox believers.
Outside the courtroom, Pussy Riot supporters chanted ‘shame’ while global supporters of the women donned balaclavas and took to the streets in protest, with one woman in the Ukraine appearing topless on stage, holding a chainshaw and with the words ‘Free Riot’ written on her chest and arms. The United States has led criticism of the sentences, labelling them ‘disproportionate’. Earlier this month at her Moscow concert, Madonna appealed for their release and spoke of democracy, censorship and freedom.
male contraceptive pill gets closer
American scientists have discovered a molecule called JQ1 which could potentially become the world’s first male contraceptive pill. Unlike the female contraceptive pill, the drug does not affect the hormones but rather works by reversibly blocking sperm production when tested in mice and rats without changing their sex drive or affecting their ability to produce healthy offspring once the drug is stopped.
While remaining optimistic, Australian male fertility expert Professor Robert McLachlan said that lengthy research would be required in animals before its efficacy could be tested in humans.
homosexuals are ‘child molesters’
A gay rights group has condemned comments made at an anti-gay rally, labelling them ‘derogative’ and ‘offensive’. Pastor Peter Walker told the 200-strong crowd that had gathered outside Canberra’s Parliament House that homosexual relationships are destructive and that ‘homosexuals (re)produce by molesting children’. In response, national convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, said ‘this is the type of language that opponents to marriage equality use’ when what should be taking place is ‘mature and respectful discussion’.
pregnant woman awaiting cancer treatment dies
A 20 year old Dominican woman who was nine weeks pregnant and diagnosed with acute leukemia has died after waiting 20 days for doctors and the Dominican government to decide if she should be allowed cancer treatment. In the Dominican Republic, abortion is illegal under Article 37 of the Constitution.
melbourne woman fights cleo magazine
Twenty year old student (and lip’s very own web coordinator) Jess Barlow has launched a campaign urging Cleo magazine to stop using digitally altered images of girls in its publications. Her change.org petition has already amassed over 11,000 signatures and with the assistance of local and national media coverage and promotion on facebook, that number is quickly increasing. It follows a similar campaign by a teenager in the United States that saw Seventeen Magazine commit to stop digitally altering women’s bodies.
women only city in saudi arabia
Construction of a women-only city in Saudi Arabia is expected to begin next year, the premise of which is to encourage more women to pursue careers without breaking strict Islamic laws. Currently, only 15% of the Saudi Arabian’s working population is female.
‘target, stop selling trampy clothes to our daughters.’
An Australian mother and primary school teacher took to Target’s facebook page this week to urge the retailer to ‘make a range of clothing for girls 7-14 years that doesn’t make them look like tramps’. By midday that very day, the post had attracted almost 3,000 comments and more than 54,000 ‘likes’. Target later posted a response urging customers to email the chain with complaints on ‘specific products’.
chile announces first feminist publication
Chile has announced its first independent feminist publication, La MansaGuman, which is not only created solely by women, but also aims to put an end to the ‘historical invisiblisation’ of women by giving them a voice. At present, 90 percent of print and online press is controlled by two of the country’s richest companies, El Mercurio and Copesa, with a high percentage edited and owned by men. The director of La MansaGuman, Kena Lorenzini, said of the publication: ‘We have always dreamed of a “heroine” who would not only denounce violence against women, but would also represent us in other spheres.’
nepalese women under 30 banned from working in gulf states
Nepal has banned women under the age of 30 from working in Persian Gulf nations in an attempt to prevent some of the abuse and exploitation that plagues the Middle East. Nepalese women who travel to the region for employment are often deprived of sleep, food and wages, are forced to work up to 20 hours a day, and are subjected to threats and physical and sexual abuse. Many have had their passports withheld. Nisha Varia from Human Rights Watch suggests that the ban fails to solve underlying problems and that ‘Nepal’s government should work with other labour-sending governments to demand stronger protections for migrant workers in the Gulf’.