Oklahoma to follow Texas with ’30 mile’ abortion bill: the War on Women rages on

2013 was a bad year for the Republican Party, women-wise. Between the resurfacing of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s astonishment that God hasn’t stepped in from stopping abortion in America from running “as far and foully as it has”, they rounded off the year looking like it’s possible they might have an image problem.

Texas senator Wendy Davis

Everyone’s favourite pro-choice Texas senator Wendy Davis. Photo: Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune


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Sex work: thoughts on ‘selling your body’

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while will know that I’m firmly against the criminalisation of sex work. I call it sex work because the term recognises that, as with any other form of work, there should be terms of sale and workers’ rights and safe working conditions. Besides, sex workers pay tax.

But this post is less about the actual work than the language we use to talk about it. Specifically, it’s about the huge problem I have with the phrase ‘selling your body’.
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#JusticeforJasmine, sex work and the Swedish model

#justice for Jasmine Eve-Maree Petite Jasmine, abolish Swedish sex work model legislation

On 11 July a sex worker who went by the name of Petite Jasmine was murdered. She was a sex worker rights activist and member of the Rose Alliance, “an organisation for former and current sex and erotic workers in Sweden”. Here’s the statement they released on Facebook today:
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Japanese pop star sleeps with boyfriend, shaves head

I wrote a piece for Indy Voices on the AKB48 singer who shaved her head as self-inflicted punishment for sleeping with another pop star. Turns out doing a Japanese degree does sometimes come in useful!

Shocked at the Japanese pop star who shaved her head for having a boyfriend and betraying band rules? Look around you

Minami Minegishi’s band AKB48 embody the disturbing schoolgirl fantasy: naïve and submissive, yet unattainable – and the hypocrisy isn’t unique to Japanese culture

When a video emerged last week of a Japanese popstar’s heart-wrenching apology for betraying the rules of her band, the British reaction was predictably dramatic.

It was difficult to fathom why a 20-year-old would go to the lengths of shaving her head in order to communicate the depth of her shame for having spent the night with a boyfriend. The offence was barely newsworthy. Although a traditional form of repentance in Japan, the self-inflicted punishment hardly seemed to fit the crime.

Yet Minami Minegishi’s response is perhaps less shocking in the context of idol culture in Japan. Minegishi, who was photographed leaving boyband dancer Alan Shirahama’s apartment, is part of the phenomenally successful girl band AKB48. Tickets to the band’s nightly shows are so sought-after they are allocated through a lottery. The band is divided into three teams, allowing them to perform in different locations, or even different countries, at any one time, and they are a powerful export. In 2011, AKB48 opened a café in Singapore: a replica of their own venue in Akihabara, the electronics district of Tokyo after which they are named…

 

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‘Us lowly natural-born women’: not in my name, Burchill

Content warning: this post contains discussion of transphobia, trans-misogyny and hate speech, including direct quotations of the above. Links do not constitute endorsements.

“It’s never a good idea for those who feel oppressed to start bullying others in turn”. So ran the sub-heading for Julie Burchill’s Observer article about the supposed victimisation of Suzanne Moore by the “trans lobby” entitled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. It is a response to a saga which began a week or so ago with an article on female anger from Moore reprinted in the New Statesman which made a passing and ill-chosen reference to Brazilian transsexuals.
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George Galloway on Julian Assange: politicised allegations and ‘bad sexual etiquette’

Politicians seem to be making a habit of rape apology these days – yesterday it was Todd Akin across the pond saying that ‘legitimate rape’ doesn’t cause pregnancy, and today it’s our own George Galloway weighing in on the Julian Assange situation.

I was just going to talk about Galloway’s comments about rape, but having watched the full video I want to also discuss how the allegations are being discussed as a political issue.
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War on Women update: Todd Akin doesn’t believe in pregnancy resulting from ‘legitimate rape’

I barely knew that such a thing was possible, but Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has given Americans another reason not to vote Republican in the upcoming election by claiming that women cannot get pregnant as a result of ‘legitimate rape’.

Todd Akin legitimate rape pregnancyUnsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before both Todd Akin and #LegitimateRape became trending topics worldwide on Twitter.

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