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feminist news round-up 17.12.15

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Former speaker Anna Burke quits politics
The Labor MP has represented the Victorian seat of Chisholm for 17 years, has been an advocate for the humane treatment of asylum seekers and was speaker during part of the tumultuous minority Gillard/Rudd government. Burke justified her decision to quit politics saying, ‘I’m leaving because you have to go sometime and I want to go before I resent doing a job I love’and reiterated that it was not due to family reasons.

Potential new law in Ohio to force women to bury or cremate miscarried and aborted foetuses
Yep, your classic It Can’t Get Any Worse story of the week. Republicans in Ohio are planning to introduce a bill which would force women to sign a form designating their choice of burial or cremation for their aborted or miscarried foetuses, and could be made to pay to do so. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the state, calling it a ‘plainly political attempt to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion’.

Serena Williams crowned Sportsperson of the Year, racist backlash follows
Tennis star Serena Williams has made the Sports Illustrated cover as Sportsperson of the Year. Unfortunately, the LA Times then tweeted a picture of Williams alongside winning racehorse American Pharaoh, who had won the fan vote in a Sports Illustrated poll, with the question ‘who’s the real sportsperson of 2015?’ and the debate has somehow continued. Salon’s Brittney Cooper contends that this is a result of a ‘unique blend of American racism and sexism’, in which black bodies are seen as barely human.

Lawless: sex workers are the forgotten victims of VAW
Daily Life
presents an edited extract of sex worker Tilly Lawless’s speech for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, which makes for important reading. Lawless notes that the profession of sex workers is always presented in media reports of violence against them and emphatically states that ‘if you don’t support the right of sex workers to be free from violence, you do not support the right of women to be free from violence at all.’

Mahmood: ‘accept all body hair, no matter where it is or who it’s on’
Minahil Mahmood writes of their experience with hair removal as a woman, and in particular as a woman of colour for Dazed. Mahmood’s article serves as a reminder that even the feminist community itself often caters to and respects white, cis women’s decision not to shave over that of women of colour and trans women. Although the Internet has facilitated a space for women to promote self-love, body hair and all, Mahmood notes that we need to give a platform to those who refuse to conform and unlearn the thought process that women who don’t shave don’t care about their looks.

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