September 19th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 11:23pm on 19/09/2017
September 18th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 10:42pm on 18/09/2017
September 17th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 08:51pm on 17/09/2017
September 16th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 08:24pm on 16/09/2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 08:23pm on 16/09/2017
September 15th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 11:00pm on 15/09/2017

Posted by Brianna Suslovic

On Tuesday, former New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate narrowly lost a campaign for a seat on New York City Council. Despite his loss, the fact that voters were willing to forgive and forget Monserrate, a known abuser, at the ballot box is concerning.

In 2009, Monserrate sliced his girlfriend’s face with broken glass and then dragged her through the lobby of his apartment. Prosecutors charged that Monserrate — an ex-cop and ex-Marine — attacked his girlfriend Karla Giraldo after finding another man’s business card in her purse. Though Giraldo objected to the case moving forward, Monserrate was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to probation, community service, counseling, and a $1,000 fine. In 2010, he was expelled from the New York State Senate as a result of his assault conviction. In 2012, he was sentenced to two years in prison after misusing about $100,000 in public funds to help pay for a campaign. This campaign was the latest in a string of failed bids at public office.

Despite this history, Monserrate was able to garner 2,782 votes — 44 percent of the vote — in New York City’s District 21.  

Other than some minor media coverage by the New York Times and local publications like Gothamist, Monserrate’s history as an abuser remained largely obscured from the public narrative of his campaign. When brought up, such as in this interview about his newfound attempt at a political comeback, Monserrate framed his past violence within a redemption narrative:

I paid the price for that, I apologized for that… You can’t judge someone for an incident that occurred in their lives and try to use that incident to diminish them for the rest of their lives. None of us can live in the past.

Monserrate’s narrative is challenging for those of us committed to prison abolition and also to justice for survivors: how do we hold abusers accountable while envisioning a more whole form of justice? We know that abusers hold social and political capital in our country. We also know that incarceration is not the answer: it does not repair the harm done, places survivors in a vulnerable position within the criminal system, and feeds into the prison industrial complex where gender violence is rampant. How, then, are we to balance our desires for accountability with our desires for transformative justice? As far as we (and a sizeable portion of voters in Monserrate’s district) know, Monserrate has not engaged in any sort of public accountability. We don’t know whether he is still an abuser. Monserrate’s redemption narrative shies away from the past while also neglecting any commitments of his for the future — how do we know that he is accountable for his harmful actions, or that he will fight such violence in the future? This process need not involve jail or prison time. It could include various public acts of accountability — committing to supporting legislation that protects survivors, publicly demonstrating positive and healthy relationship norms in his current and future relationships, or committing to dialogue about violence prevention in his own circles, for example. Unfortunately, some voters have not held him to these standards, instead accepting Monserrate’s denouncement of the past as sufficient.

What does these voters’ acceptance of Monserrate’s redemption narrative without any indication that he’s claimed any public accountability for his actions — mean for survivors of intimate partner abuse?” There is trauma in seeing public figures abuse their partners, minimize the harm done, and then move on to their next movie, playoff, or election. This trauma is compounded by the treatment survivors receive for coming out: they are often victim-blamed, discredited, or even jailed by the prosecutors they go to for help. The public sends a dangerous message every time we vote for these individuals, watch their movies, and cheer on their teams: with these gestures of support, we are implicitly telling survivors that their humanity is less worthy than their abusers’. In a country currently governed by a known abuser, where survivors’ civil rights are routinely under attack, this can no longer be the message we endorse at the ballot box.

Header image via

Posted by Daniela Lapidous

In recent years, a person seeking an abortion in Missouri only had option: one Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. This month, access will triple.

As the Riverfront Times reports:

“The number of abortion-providing clinics in Missouri is about to triple — from one to three. This month, for the first time in several years, the Planned Parenthood locations in Kansas City and Columbia will include abortion among their services, although only the Columbia clinic will offer the surgical procedure.

And that’s only the beginning. Clinics in Joplin and Springfield are still awaiting state inspections, says Jesse Lawder, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwestern Missouri. Those locations are expected to become the state’s fourth and and fifth abortion providers.”

This is remarkably good news considering Governor Eric Greitens is fighting tooth and nail to further restrict Missouri’s already-strict abortion laws. In July, Governor Greitens called a special legislative session specifically focused on abortion – and he passed a law that would require people seeking abortion to meet with a physician (not just a clinic staff member) 72 hours before the procedure. (Fun fact: these restrictions will be challenged in federal court this month by the Satanic Temple. They’re advocates’ unexpected new allies, arguing that Missouri’s anti-abortion requirements violate their religious belief in “the inviolability of one’s own body” and scientific principles.)

For now, the new clinics owe their ability to offer surgical abortions to a federal judge’s court ruling back in April – which struck down a different set of restrictions (the state wanted clinics to outfit themselves for “major surgery” and have local hospital admitting privileges). In ruling that the clinics could open without adhering to those burdensome requirements, the judge wrote that the restrictions were more likely to endanger health than protect it (by making abortion clinics inaccessible to the majority of the state).

For someone seeking an abortion, having access to a clinic within a reasonable distance is critical. It’s not enough to have the theoretical option of getting the care you need if it’s not practical (e.g. you would have to take time off of work and maybe have to pay for a place to stay or extra gas to get there).

Go Missouri organizers for fighting for abortion access in the Midwest!

Image credit: Camille Phillips, St. Louis Public Radio

Posted by Meg Sri

On this day in 1889, in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, Harlem Renaissance poet and delegate to the Third International, Claude McKay, was born. McKay’s radical poetry challenged white authority in America and expressed a strong disdain for racism and a “sense that bigotry’s implicit stupidity renders its adherents pitiable as well as loathsome.” McKay was also considered queer and was involved in queer communities around New York, with several of his poems containing references to his sexuality. In addition to being a poet, he was also an activist for civil liberties and racial solidarity, a journalist and an author of fiction.

McKay’s most celebrated poem, If We Must Die, is considered a “signature poem of the Harlem Renaissance.” It was a spirited, revolutionary poem full of solidarity and fighting spirit against the evils and violence of white supremacy. In McKay’s own words, it was a response to an atmosphere that was “morbid, full of details of clashes between colored and white, murderous shootings and hangings.” It was during those days, McKay said, that “the sonnet, “If We Must Die,” exploded out of me.”

In today’s era of heightened racialized terror and the resurgence of white supremacy and violence, remembering McKay’s words on his birthday is especially apt:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
You can read more about Claude McKay, and more of his poetry, here.
Header image via
September 14th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 11:03pm on 14/09/2017
September 13th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 10:51pm on 13/09/2017
posted by [syndicated profile] feministing_feed at 09:00pm on 13/09/2017

Posted by Juliana Britto Schwartz

Bernie Sanders just introduced his single-payer bill with unprecedented Democratic support – and it overturns the Hyde Amendment, unapologetically including coverage for abortion.

The DOJ has chosen not to prosecute officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death due to “insufficient evidence.”

Edie Windsor has passed away. These old photos of Edie and Thea Spyer are a deeply moving portrait of queer love and desire.

8 ways you can help people of color recover from Hurricane Irma.

As Trump ignores pay discrimination, California Democrats aim to end it.

Make time to read Ta-Nahasi Coates’ incredible essay on Donald Trump, the First White President.

Posted by aliciaswiz

In a year full of attacks on women, girls, and marginalized communities, one high school is taking steps to protect students’ right to learn – regardless of what they are wearing.

Evanston Township High School (ETHS) started the 2017-2018 year in typical back to-school fashion by unveiling a summer makeover. The public school, just north of Chicago, debuted a brand new dress code, paying specific attention to gendered and cultural stereotypes embedded in the former code and adding language that is inclusive of students’ nuanced, unique identities.

Using a template created by Oregon NOW (available for free download here) ETHS is creating a space where students’ education is paramount to sexist, racist and other oppressive clothing norms. The two-page section of the student handbook dedicated to the dress code ensures that:

School ​staff​ ​shall​ ​enforce​ ​the​ ​dress​ ​code​ ​consistently​ ​and​ ​in​ ​a​ ​manner that​ ​does​ ​not​ ​reinforce​ ​or​ ​increase​ ​marginalization​ ​or​ ​oppression​ ​of​ ​any​ ​group​ ​based​ ​on​ ​race,​ ​sex,​ ​gender​ ​identity,​ ​gender​ ​expression,​ ​sexual orientation,​ ​ethnicity,​ ​religion,​ ​cultural​ ​observance,​ ​household​ ​income​ ​or​ ​body​ ​type/size.

By acknowledging that dress codes are often harmful, in particular to women and gender nonconforming people of color, ETHS is redefining a rule system which has formerly relied on policing and shaming into one which explicitly avoids the oppressive ways dress codes can make students feel unwelcome at school and bar them from accessing the education they deserve. This has particular implications for young women who are often labeled as distractions and held to the sexist double standards dress codes cultivate.

The six point list of values clearly stated in the new policy uphold a commitment to students’ learning by prioritizing physical and emotional comfort. Rather than allowing administrators to simply “forbid students from wearing certain items,” as the Chicago Public Schools policy states, ETHS explicitly identifies what students may wear paying particular attention to controversial items.

For example, leggings, an item which were previously banned, are now included on the list of items student may wear. In an era when leggings have become as controversial as nipples, the garment is too often used as an excuse to police women’s bodies, and ETHS is right to buck that trend. Earlier this month, a principal in South Carolina made headlines for body shaming students who are not “a size two or smaller” for wearing leggings because they looked fat. This summer, while boarding their flight, two teen girls were called out by a United Airlines attendant who told them that their leggings were in conflict with the airline dress code. In spite of public outcry, United maintained their dress code policy.

Which is why the move by ETHS is a bold and necessary step towards creating a space for students to learn free from racist and sexist rules. The school understands that it’s the systems and policies that need to change, not the students. We can only hope that other schools will follow suit.

Header image credit

Posted by Reina Gattuso

Donald Trump and his cadre of evil cronies sure have a way of making the worst decisions, always. A recent treat: DeVos’s announcement that she will roll back Title IX enforcement. This anti-survivor plan, cooked up after conversations with MRAs, has been deemed a terrible idea by at least 100,000 student activists.

The recent decision illuminates a fact we knew was true, but the Trump administration is proving without a doubt: In order to actually obtain equality for women, it’s not enough to get women into power.

It matters, instead, which women we get into power. Women will not always help women. Often, women will harm other women terribly.

At the end of the day, alas, lots of powerful women suck politically.

This of course is a truism by now, but at a moment when some of the top Trump cronies are women, it bears repeating and its implications for how we think about identity and representation require serious thought.

The Trump administration and some of their star supporters from the right wing have amply proven that female identity does not necessarily equal feminism. Ivanka’s false feminism is the stuff of legend – and grisly racist, sexist daily reality. Betsy DeVos and her civil rights assistant, Candice E. “90% of rape complaints are false” Jackson surely prove this fact. And of course, Kellyanne Conway’s rampant apologism and complete dismissal of feminism certainly counts.

This isn’t even to mention the lady stars of the alt right, whose advocacy for a white ethnostate is closely followed by their embrace of traditional gender norms.

And of course, there is a long history of less overtly horrible women making decisions that are ultimately horrible for women, or horrible for any woman who isn’t rich and white – from the racism of first-wave feminists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton to (yes, gotta say it) the militaristic violence promoted by Hillary Clinton.

Okay, we get it: Women in power don’t always help women and can often harm them. So what does this mean?

This should remind us that when we talk about identity politics, we can’t and don’t just mean identity in the sense of representation. Representation is, of course, important in and of itself: Those who have been excluded from power and have had their rights denied have a right to claim that power, period. But in our own political analysis, we need to pay attention to not only a person’s identity, but how that identity fits in a structure – and whether that person’s policies and politics will actually dismantle that structure.

A logic of pure representation – in which the only thing we care about is seeing marginalized people in any position of power – is very vulnerable to right-wing appropriation. To make an obvious example, the alt-right may contain some women leaders, but it is in no imaginable way feminist. And we can all name public figures from oppressed groups – whether they be women, people of color, or queer people – who actively work for an agenda which is frankly bad for people within that oppressed community, or which is bad for people within those communities who are oppressed in some other way. Ideology matters. Intersectionality matters.

And if we examine the history of identity politics as a concept, we’ll find the idea that identity politics merely means representation is a vast oversimplification of a politically powerful and nuanced concept. If we look, for example, at the Combahee River Collective statement – a landmark black feminist document which created “identity politics” as a political weapon – we find a much more complex conception of identity politics than the simplistic dismissals articulated on Fox News.

The Collective writes of experience as a source of knowledge, and of marginalized people’s self-awareness of their own oppression as a political weapon. They argue that they have a fundamental value as human beings. As they are the best people to recognize this value and to recognize the conditions of their oppression, they are also best equipped to fight for their own liberation through feminism, anti-racism, and socialism. They write:

There is also undeniably a personal genesis for Black Feminism, that is, the political realization that comes from the seemingly personal experiences of individual Black women’s lives. Above all else, Our politics initially sprang from the shared belief that Black women are inherently valuable, that our liberation is a necessity not as an adjunct to somebody else’s but because of our need as human persons for autonomy…This focusing upon our own oppression is embodied in the concept of identity politics. We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else’s oppression.

In an age where the right is appropriating language and concepts initially created by the left (safe spaces for Zionists, anyone?), we have to be on our toes. This includes remembering, every time, that our feminism needs to more complicated than simply getting more women to lean in to high-power positions. Let’s opt, instead, for transformation.

Image credit: NBC News

September 12th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 11:03pm on 12/09/2017
posted by [syndicated profile] feministing_feed at 09:32pm on 12/09/2017

Posted by Lori Adelman

RIP Edie Windsor, LGBTQ rights icon.

Screenshot of woman from "A Cuban Woman's Perspective"Read Feministing alum Mychal Denzel Smith on identity politics, intersectionality, and what liberals misunderstand.

Join us in welcoming Womanly Magazine to the feminist fold! Pictured left,  a screenshot from the original video “A Cuban Woman’s Perspective“.

Applications are now open for the 2018 Class of Women Deliver Young Leaders.

Posted by Daniela Lapidous

As Hurricane Irma continues to push north just days after Hurricane Harvey, let’s finally recognize that doing anything less than connecting these disasters to climate change and injustice is a very political choice. It is a choice to value fossil fuel billionaires over poor people, people of color, and the Global South.

In case you missed it, from August 25th to 30th, the Houston area received over 50” of rain from Hurricane Harvey, the greatest amount of rain ever recorded in the lower 48 states from a single storm. Over 70 people have died, including rescuers, and over 40,000 have lost their homes. Recovery is projected to cost up to $190 billion (resources Houston’s low-income black and brown communities will least be able to recover on their own). And the storms aren’t over yet: Hurricane Irma has already caused 42 deaths in the Carribean and continental United StatesThe island of Barbuda was ripped apart by Irma — and then had to evacuate just four days later to avoid a third storm, Jose. Irma is the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. This is also the first time in history that the Atlantic has seen back-to-back-to-back hurricanes of Category 4 or higher.

This is not just happening in the Americas. The worst floods to hit India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in years have killed over 1,200 people this season and affected 40 million people.

It’s all terrifying, and it’s exactly what a climate-changed world looks like.

Though climate science doesn’t pinpoint whether a specific event would have happened at all or not, scientists tell us that climate change definitely made Harvey more severe. Our warming atmosphere — a product of the fossil fuels we burn — is expected to increase the frequency and strength of storms we experience. In other words, we can expect more Hurricane Harveys and Irmas.

Not only is climate change happening, but it is not merely an accidental side effect of industrial progress. The heads of fossil fuel companies including Exxon knew about climate change in the 1970s and purposefully started spreading a trail of misinformation rather than changing course on their businesses.

Climate change is manmade and preventable; so, too, are its disparate, human impacts.

In Houston, for example, city planners and government officials carry responsibility for the damage. Just a year ago, Houston’s head of flood planning called climate change studies “absurd,” refused to assess the effect of climate change on the region, and refused recommendations to mitigate future flooding (such as the twenty-seven trillion gallons of water from Harvey). This past summer, the Texas GOP state legislature voted to cut Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding (which they will likely be asking much more of now). ProPublica has done critical work showing how Houston’s unchecked development strategy has made the city uniquely vulnerable to flood damage.

In light of all of this, it is quite literally absurd that people who name these truths – that climate change is impacting us, and we really ought to do something about it – are accused of “politicizing a tragedy.” We’re told to instead stick to the topic of disaster relief and attend to the human suffering in front of us.

Let’s be clear then: the project of stopping climate change is an effort to prevent catastrophic levels of human suffering. And discussing the extreme weather events going on while actively choosing not to talk about climate change is also a political choice — one that is considerably more harmful.

It is a choice made in favor of fossil fuel corporations who have convinced the American public that we don’t have to do anything about climate change, so that they can rack up profits and continue being the most profitable industry in global history. It is a choice made in defense of billionaires like our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who literally used a secret alias to hide climate change-related conversations while heading Exxon.

And most importantly, it is a choice to abandon poor people, people of color, and those in the Global South who bear the brunt of climate change and who can’t afford to abandon their lives and rebuild without significant pain.

In a disaster, people tend to ask the same questions: Why did this happen? What can we do to make sure it won’t happen again? And how can we be better prepared when it does happen again? To avoid those questions is irresponsible. To avoid their answers because they would reveal some ugly truths about our systems of wealth and government is arguably criminal negligence.

We must talk about — and organize for – climate justice in the wake of disasters. It is the most meaningful thing we can do to support those already impacted as well as for ourselves, our kids, and our grandkids.

If you feel moved to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, do two things today: contribute what you can to the Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund and the Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund. Each is administered by a collective of several grassroots, state-based organizations.

Then, join Sunrise Movement, a new youth-led movement working to make climate justice a decisive issue in the 2018 elections by asking whether we want representatives who will protect people or profits.

Header image credit: WIRED / Marcus Yam / Getty Images

September 11th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] fandom_secrets_feed at 11:32pm on 11/09/2017

Posted by Sejal Singh

Last week, Betsy DeVos announced that she’s rescinding critical Title IX guidance that outlines student survivors’ rights under federal civil rights law. Our very own Dana, along with Feministing alum Alexandra Brodsky, published an important op-ed in the Washington Post raising the question, among others: has DeVos even read the guidance she’s revoking?

Here’s an excerpt:

The 2011 letter set out specifically that “sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.” It empowered campus sexual assault survivors like us to walk into meetings with school officials knowing that colleges couldn’t push us to withdraw from school until our perpetrators graduated. (One of us was told to drop out of school until her rapist finished his degree.) Our schools had to provide us the accommodations we needed to stay in school, such as free counseling, and help students switch out of class sections shared with the individuals charged with assaulting them. The letter outlined our right to learn alongside our peers, making clear to our schools that they could no longer count on our ignorance keeping us in the shadows.

DeVos misleadingly claims the guidance requires schools to deny accused students a fair investigation process. To be clear, I agree (just like Title IX activists everywhere) that school discipline must be impartial, procedurally robust, and fair to all parties. But I don’t believe for a second that the “Grab ‘Em By the Pussy” Administration is going to build a system that’s fair to both accused students and gender violence survivors – especially when DeVos’ speech included some highly misleading statements about the Dear Colleague Letter. Dana and Alexandra explain:

DeVos also misrepresented the guidance itself, arguing that the Dear Colleague letter gutted due process protections for the accused. That’s false. The letter reaffirms schools’ obligation to provide for the rights of all parties involved in campus sexual assault cases and already requires many of the protections critics demand. DeVos said that under the current system, accused students are denied proper notice of the accusation and access to the evidence against them. But those practices are expressly forbidden by the Dear Colleague letter, which plainly states: “the parties must have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence. The complainant and the alleged perpetrator must be afforded similar and timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing.” . . .  If schools are failing to live up to their legal obligations to accused students, the solution is for the Education Department to enforce those obligations, not undermine them.

If DeVos wants to attack Title IX guidance protecting student survivors – who are organized as hell and already fighting back – she should do her homework first. Head over to The Washington Post to read Dana and Alexandra’s piece in full.

Photo credit: Know Your IX

Posted by Barbara Sostaita

Last week, Trump ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protected eligible undocumented youth from deportation and provided them with renewable U.S. work permits. The White House announced that it plans to delay the program’s termination for six months, giving Congress an opportunity to enshrine DACA into law. But, there’s a catch. Earlier this week, House Republicans told Politico they are willing to make DACA law only in exchange for border wall funding. The Left’s response should be a firm and unwavering no.

Efforts to couch border militarization and inhumane immigration enforcement under the guise of a reform bill aren’t new. Over the past several decades, immigration policies under every presidential administration have systematically militarized the southern border, contributing to the deaths of thousands of immigrants and the criminalization of millions of others. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) not only legalized millions of migrants but also imposed sanctions on employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers and allocated more funds to Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). That led to the hiring of more Border Patrol personnel, the construction of new Border Patrol stations, checkpoints, and detention centers, and an influx of new equipment at the border — including helicopters, night-vision scopes, night vision goggles, and surveillance systems. In short, the tradeoff for legalizing some immigrants was the creation of a war zone at the border. Indeed, since then, 187 billion dollars have been spent on border security and immigration enforcement.

The last legislative attempt at immigration reform, the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, created a rift in immigrant activist circles. The Senate Bill, which never passed a House vote, offered a path to citizenship for the majority of undocumented immigrants while also building the “most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” While some advocates claimed that the lives and livelihoods of the 11 million immigrants already in the United States should be prioritized, others denounced the bill as unjust and inhumane and argued that it would put migrants’ lives at risk.

This same debate is taking place today. Legislators have made it clear that, in the next six months, they will “see if we can do a deal where we secure our border and . . . give the DREAM Act kids what they deserve which is to stay in the country they call home.” While this may sound like a smart political move to some, we cannot offer up the lives of other migrants as collateral damage in the name of reaching a compromise.

Trump’s border wall will create more dangerous crossing conditions for migrants — especially for women — and lead to more deaths along the border. It also will adversely affect the environment and indigenous communities whose traditional lands are split between Mexico and the United States. What’s more, research shows that it doesn’t even work: building walls and militarizing the border doesn’t stop the flow of migration but rather serves only to push border crossers into more remote and dangerous places, leading to more death and human suffering.

We must denounce any bill that sees some migrants as more disposable than others. We cannot allow legislators to use the rescission of DACA to promote their own white supremacist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic border militarization agenda. Increased border security and immigration enforcement efforts kill people, tear families apart, and strip migrants of their human and civil rights. Under no circumstances should border wall funding be part of a DREAM Act. On this we cannot compromise.

Header image via NACLA.

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