daily feminist news 02.10.13
It’s a pretty eye catching headline, isn’t it? A former prison in South Africa, where Winnie Mandela was incarcerated for protesting against apartheid segregation in 1958, has been equipped with a 12 meter deep, walk through vagina installation. Artist and creator, Reshma Chhiba, conceptualised the installation as being a revolt against the patriarchal systems and taboos around women’s bodies and sexuality. When people take off their shoes and walk through the spongy walls of the vagina, screams and laughter ring out from the installation’s interior. Chhiba explained that ‘It’s a screaming vagina within a space that once contained women and stifled women. It’s revolting against this space… mocking this space, by laughing at it.’
As all of us who openly identify as feminists know, the general population don’t really dig the whole thing. In recent decades perfectly rational, educated young women have joined the postfeminist chorus of ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ Because everyone knows that feminists are hairy, man-hating, humorless Germaine Greer clones who no one wants to have sex with. In light of this, the debate has arisen as to whether feminism needs to be re-branded, updated, made cool again. UK Elle magazine is attempting to do just that, facilitating the collaboration between feminist groups and happening ad agencies in the attempt to give the movement a new coat of paint. Callie Beusman over at Jezebel makes the interesting point that ‘While it’s admirable that the publication is publicly embracing the feminist movement, it’s more than a bit unsettling to see feminism reduced to a brand.’ What do you think?
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of Russian feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, imprisoned for performing a ‘punk prayer’ denouncing Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Orthodox cathedral in 2012, has ceased her hunger strike. Due to her deteriorating health, Tolokonnikova was committed to the prison hospital, where she chose to end her hunger strike; however, according to her husband, Tolokonnikova intends to resume her strike once she recovers.
The Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health is campaigning for primary care doctors to ask women ‘do you want to become pregnant in the next year?’ in order to allow for more effective doctor-patient consultations. Instead of questions like ‘are you sexually active?’ by asking whether or not women wish to become pregnant, doctors will be able to conduct consultations to better suit women’s needs.
Earlier in the week, Natalie Portman shared her views on feminism in film with Elle UK, interestingly stating that: ‘I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad — human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a “feminist” story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.’ Thoughts?