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Femen Attacked From All Sides: Shut Up and Put Your Shirts Back On
11:09 am



femen paris

The radical feminist street-theater protest group Femen has come under fire from all political sides, including some unexpected voices from the Left.

Femen is famous for its topless protests in Europe against sex trafficking, homophobia, right-wing politicians, Roman Catholic teachings about sexuality, and the Muslim laws and customs dictating women’s behavior and clothing.

Femen member Inna Shevchenko fled Ukraine last year after cutting down a wooden cross in central Kiev, which commemorated the victims of the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine of 1932-33, with a chainsaw to protest the conviction of three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” She has recently been given political asylum in France.

Femen protests, which began in 2008 (the topless part began in 2009 on Ukrainian independence day) are announced ahead of time to the media and attract a substantial amount of attention, probably more for their bare breasts than the slogans (reminiscent of early 1990’s Riot Grrrls) written on them or the Amazonian flower garlands on their heads. Their in-your-face tactics are in the tradition of surrealism, punk, and the Guerrilla Girls.

Femen’s performance-like protests have gone way beyond the old cliché about feminist bra burning. For example, in 2010 they protested the egregious sexual harassment of women on the street and on public transportation (“the rush hour perverts that like to trespass up our skirts and undo their pants”) by protesting in the Kiev metro, holding signs that said, “I Will Rip Your Balls Off.”  In December 2012 Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy stood outside the Egyptian embassy in Stockholm naked except for black stockings and red shoes – in the snow – with the slogan “Sharia is not a constitution” written on her torso. This year they protested at the Grand Mosque of Paris, chanting “Our Boobs Are Stronger Than Their Stones” and got away before security guards could restrain them. Vladimir Putin, however, liked what he saw when a group of Femen protesters rushed him and Angela Merkel in Germany this April and regretted that his security guards hadn’t been gentler with the women when they tackled them. International Topless Jihad Day began this year in support of a young Tunisian woman, Amina Tyler, who posted two topless photos of herself (Smoking! Wearing lipstick!) on the Internet with the words “Fuck your morals” and “My body is mine, not somebody’s honor!” written across her chest.

A group of young conservative French women have started their own group in response to Femen, Les Antigones. (Doesn’t Antigone die at the end of the Sophocles’ play of the same name?) Based on their officially released video statement and their publicity photos, the Antigones are comprised entirely of young white women who are dressed in modest white dresses, looking as demure as Big Ten college sorority girls at their freshman initiation ceremony. They don’t identify as feminists and object to the shock tactics of Femen as much as their message.

The Antigones describe themselves as, “Daughters of our fathers, wives of our husbands, mothers of our sons, we do not reject men. Instead, we are persuaded that it is with them, in complementarity, that we will build our future.”

After failing to engage the Femen leaders in a dialogue at a protest in Paris this year, the Antigones united to film an official message challenging Femen’s values. One of the Antigones apparently infiltrated Femen as a potential member for seven weeks. At the end of their message to Femen she calls for the arrest and deportation of leaders Oksana Shachko and Inna Shevchenko back to Ukraine.

Traditionalist men are breathing a very loud sigh of relief at the Antigones and celebrating their beauty, femininity, traditional values, classiness, and are hailing them as “real” French women.

One would expect to hear criticism of Femen from, say, Rush Limbaugh, even though the body types and BMI’s of the Femen protesters murder his credo that “feminazis” are ugly, hideous monsters: (“Truth of Life Number 24: Feminism was established so that unattractive women could have easier access to the mainstream.”) But on the other end of the political spectrum are leftist critics of Femen, 1960’s and 1970’s feminist icon Germaine Greer among them. She wrote “Is this feminism?” for Australia’s News:

As a revolutionary movement, Femen is fledgling. Its manifestations, though photogenic, are tiny.

If it could drive out sex tourism and the mail-order bride business, and protect women at risk of honour killing and infanticide, it will have accomplished much, but its attack is aimed as much at religion of any kind.

It belongs to the old order of radical feminism that sought to abolish marriage and patriarchy.

Its leaders tell us classical feminism is dead, but what’s happened is deeply conservative equality feminism has usurped its position. Daring as the young women in the flower garlands are, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Though Femen claims 150,000 members, most are virtual. If ever a mass demonstration were needed, most of them wouldn’t show. Virtual isn’t real; breasts aren’t bombs…

For nudity to be a guerilla tactic, it has to go further. The women of Femen are, first of all, young; but they’re also slim.

They may be all colours of the rainbow but they’re not fat, or even plump, or even well-covered.

The breasts they make so much of tend to be small and neat. Not a stretch mark to be seen. Femen offers a very marketable version of contemporary femaleness.

Meghan Murphy wrote on Rabble:

Contrary to popular belief, I am not opposed to boobs. Rather, I am opposed to women’s bodies constantly being objectified and sexualized. I am also opposed to the fact that nobody gives a shit about women or feminism unless women and feminism look like a beer commercial or a burlesque show.

Though Shevchenko claimed that Femen’s topless protests are about taking back power over their own bodies, she contradicts her point by saying that which is true — when it comes to women the focus is almost always on the body.

Many progressive Muslim women are offended by the fact that non-Muslim Femen members are insulting their religion and condescendingly offering to save them. When Femen members wore burqas at a protest in Paris (urging Muslim women to “get naked with me!”) and also burned a salafist flag (containing Muslim professions of faith), they succeeded in alienating many of the Muslim women they want to help. These Femen critics – Muslim Women Against Femen and Muslimah Pride – photographed themselves in their headscarves holding their own signs: “I am already free,” “Freedom of choice,” “Nudity DOES NOT liberate me and I DO NOT need saving,” and “There is more than one way to be free.”

Sara M. Salem wrote in Al-Akhbar

Feminism has the potential to be greatly emancipatory by adopting an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-Islamophobic rhetoric, instead of often actively being racist, homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic. By clearly delineating the boundaries of what is “good” and “bad” feminism, Femen is using colonial feminist rhetoric that defines Arab women as oppressed by culture and religion, while no mention is made of capitalism, racism, or global imperialism. It is actively promoting the idea that Muslim women are suffering from “false consciousness” because they cannot see (while Femen can see) that the veil and religion are intrinsically harmful to all women.

Yasmin AmatUllah (@YasminBSikdar) posted an open letter to Femen on Twitter on April 6th:

Accusing women of being oppressed is not only patronising and belittling but a form of control also. Funny how my so called feelings are forever being dictated to me, funny how I’m told that I’m oppressed when I’ve never uttered this, funny how I’m harassed for the way I dress – yet in this clothing I feel free from social pressures and most liberated.

Women in Islam don’t need western ‘freedom’ where you force her to strip away her dignity, limit her to flesh, undermine her ability to use her mind – in order to exploit her and then call it (her) freedom of choice, when you’ve dictated this to her. This is real oppression.

It isn’t likely that Femena is going to drop its nudity or its hostile attitude toward Islam any time soon. In fact, Shevchenko’s response to criticism from Muslim women in The Huffington Post UK was dismissive:

And you can put as many scarves as you want if you are free tomorrow to take it off and to put it back the next day but don’t deny millions of your sisters who have fear behind their scarves, don’t deny that there are million of your sisters who have been raped and killed because they are not following the wish of Allah! We are here to scream about that.

The Antigones’ message to Femen, below:


Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Simone de Beauvoir: ‘Why I am a Feminist’
02:53 pm


Simone de Beauvoir

An exceptional interview with Simone de Beauvoir, from the French TV program Questionnaire, in which the great writer discussed her views on Feminism with Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber.

Beginning with a quote from her book The Second Sex, de Beauvoir explained the meaning of her oft-quoted line, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one,”

“...being a woman is not a natural fact. It’s the result of a certain history. There is no biological or psychological destiny that defines a woman as such. She’s a product of a history of civilization, first of all, which has resulted in her current status, and secondly for each individual woman, of her personal history, in particular, that of her childhood. This determines her as a woman, creates in her something which is not at all innate, or an essence, something which has been called the ‘eternal feminine,’ or femininity. The more we study the psychology of children, the deeper we delve, the more evident it becomes that baby girls are manufactured to become women.”

Recorded in 1975, this interview is in French with English subtitles.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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No One’s Little Girls: The Raincoats were Kurt Cobain’s favorite band
01:11 pm


Kurt Cobain
Kim Gordon
The Raincoats

Although I grew up in the punk era, it was really the post-punk stuff that turned my crank, and still does. During that time there were countless odd ephemeral little bands (including one I was in for 15 minutes) that not only stood no chance of widespread popularity, it never even occurred to them that they could be popular or that they should try to make some real money out of their music. It was almost more about doing something that other creative people in bands would take notice of. Why things were like that for a brief and shining moment I really can’t say, though part of it was the way economics worked then: If you didn’t need a lot of stuff, you could sorta get by with very little bread and spend a lot of your time hangin’ out and, occasionally, working out your musical ideas. Those days, of course, were forcibly crash-landed by Reagan & Thatcher, but for a narrow window of time there was some really incredible musical creativity made by folks who wanted to do something interesting.

One of the obscure little bands I was into was called The Raincoats, and I never saw a review of any of their albums, never saw a video and never saw a photo of them (all the albums I or anyone I knew had only had paintings on the covers). Although they seemed to be a mostly female band, I don’t think that thought really explicitly occurred to me back then: They just made this jangly, repetitive-but-catchy music with weird, often miserable lyrics sung for the most part “unprofessionally” (and as a punk that “unprofessional” bit really made it sound authentic to me). But something about it rung true to my ears and to my small circle of friends as well. We’d sit in dark rooms smoking hashish, listening to The Raincoats and just…abide, though not Cali-style: This was New York City style, complete with cold crummy weather and/or pouring rain.

Little did I know, then, that others were also huddled in dark places around the country, and around the world, listening to The Raincoats as if their music was a tiny little fire with which we’d warm our hands. Never having been a Nirvana fan (though I do appreciate their unique sound), I didn’t know that Kurt Cobain had helped to get their albums reissued on CD and had written this about them:

“..I don’t really know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that, whenever I hear it I’m reminded of a particular time in my life when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely, and bored. If it weren’t for the luxury of putting that scratchy copy of The Raincoats’ first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it’s more important to delineated the way I feel and how they sound. When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I’m a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I’m listening in on them. We’re together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it’s their thing.”

Meanwhile, Kim Gordon had this to say about The Raincoats:

It was The Raincoats I related to most. They seemed like ordinary people playing extraordinary music. Music that was natural that made room for cohesion of personalities. They had enough confidence to be vulnerable and to be themselves without having to take on the mantle of male rock/punk rock aggression…or the typical female as sex symbol avec irony or sensationalism.

Listening to The Raincoats I didn’t get the sense that I was listening in to a message from women to other women. They were just singing bluntly and honestly about their lives (which had patches of light but plenty of patches of rain too), and we listeners scattered in our dark places related to that. Though probably their best-known song is “Shouting Out Loud,” my favorite tune of theirs was always “I Saw a Hill” from Moving. Listen through to the finale and tell me this doesn’t kick your ass and point straight and unwaveringly at that hidden woman that you keep (be ye male or female) deep down inside and that until this moment you were absolutely sure no one could possibly identify:

The Raincoats’ stellar cover of “Lola” by The Kinks:

Below, seldom-seen footage of The Raincoats performing “Go Away” and “No Side to Fall In” in 1982.

Posted by Em | Discussion
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The Feminist backlash against The Beat Generation: Cool, finger-poppin’ daddies or misogynist jerks?

I first noticed a backlash against the Beats when it was announced a few years ago that Walter Salles was making a film of Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road, with Kristen Stewart cast as Marylou, Sam Riley as Sal Paradise, Garrett Hudlund as Dean Moriarty, and Viggo Mortensen as Old Bull Lee.

You expect to hear negative comments from aging conservative academics in English departments or that weird PhD candidate from the East Coast who supposedly had an “influential” zine once but hated every writer who didn’t sound exactly like William Faulkner.

But this round of anti-Beat Generation comments was coming from much younger people posting on non-academic literary forums, and not just 4Chan’s /lit/ board.

I visited Kerouac’s entire On The Road scroll, purchased by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for $2.5 million in 2001, displayed in its entirety, on a day when a fourth grade public school class was on a field trip to the same museum. I had seen the scroll previously when it had been laid out in thirds elsewhere, necessitating multiple visits. This time it took up an entire corridor. I didn’t get to meet the delightful hippie who travels with the scroll simply to set it up and take it down wherever it is being shown. I was peering at the typewritten text peppered with handwritten notes and corrections, ignoring the stares of the security guards who apparently thought I was going to stuff the scroll in my purse and bolt. I was also trying not to snicker at the conversation of a group of nine-year-olds looking at the nearby vintage Playboy cover featuring Marilyn Monroe (also part of Irsay’s collection) displayed on the wall above the scroll’s case.

“Who’s that?”

“It’s Madonna.”

“No, that’s not Madonna. It’s Ke$ha.”

“No, it’s Gaga!”

Their teacher asked me a question about the scroll, obviously assuming that I was a museum employee. When I explained that I was just a visitor, she apologized and said, “But I didn’t think women read Kerouac.”

That was news to me.

The backlash against the Beats in general, and Kerouac in particular, is becoming more evident and is mostly coming from Feminists.

In 2010 blogger Alexa Offenhauer imagined the domestic circumstances around Kerouac’s creation of the scroll in her post “It’ll All Be Worth It If I Get Published, or: Why I Hate Jack Kerouac”:

I can just imagine the scene, can’t you? There he is, playing with his tracing paper, painstakingly cutting it and taping it back together like the world’s first scrapbooker, all while taking himself very seriously and refusing to take any pleasure from his crafty pursuit. Then, just when his poor wife thinks that maybe he is done with the insanity and they can go for a nice walk in the park, he sits himself in the corner at his typewriter, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, and starts a typing frenzy that, as far as she is concerned, may never end.

Imagine the smell that emanated from that corner of the apartment by the end of those three weeks. The ungodly mess of cigarette ash, butts, apple cores, coffee mugs, chicken bones, and dead skin cells that must have littered the floor around him. At least, that is what it would have looked like at the end of those three weeks if I had been his wife. Minus the chicken bones, of course, because I would not have cooked for him and I doubt seriously he would have managed it for himself.

But maybe Joan Haverty not only cooked but also cleaned for him. Maybe she reminded him go to the bathroom and maybe, if she was very skillful, managed to get him in and out of the shower once or twice during that time.

I like to think that she had an affair with the grocer or the mailman while he was lost in his self-imposed, self-consumed insanity, but then I’ve always been optimistic.

Regardless of how she got through those three weeks, by the end of it, she must have been breathing an enormous sigh of relief. No matter how bohemian she was, no matter how much she believed in her husband’s literary genius, as he finally sat up, rubbed his eyes, and said, “I’m finished,” I can’t believe that she thought anything other than, “Thank God, now maybe he can sell this damn thing and then we can move to a place with a cross breeze.”

But no. After that three week marathon, which itself came after years and years of planning and working, it took him another nine years to perfect his manuscript and finally sell it.

Last August a conflict erupted first over an article on The Millions about a literary matchmaking service, Between The Covers, at an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, WORD. Kerouac fan and co-author of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ Stephanie Nikolopoulos wrote “On The Highway of Love, Jack Kerouac Divides Men And Women”:

Then I encountered a woman who openly disdained Kerouac – and all that he seemed to represent. It occurred to me that women saw him as a misogynist vagabond, the bad boy who had left their broken hearts in a trail of exhaust fumes. He didn’t like being tied down by responsibilities or women. Perhaps those female readers who actually did like his writing feared adding Kerouac to their list of favorite authors for a literary matchmaking board because they didn’t want to end up with someone like him: a penniless drifter, a dreamer, an alcoholic…

In a work written by a man, the female character is usually going to be the subject of the male gaze. If that work happens to be On The Road, you’re going to end up with women like Marylou and Camille, flat characters being two-timed by hyperactive car-thief Dean Moriarty. It’s no wonder then that many women, even when they put his personal lives aside, don’t relate to Kerouac’s story.

Jezebel‘s Katie J.M. Baker wrote in response, “Why Don’t Women Like Jack Kerouac?”, dismissing the Beats as “kind of immature dicks” and asking “Do any non-teenage women actually like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road?” (Her own answer to this question is – inaccurately – no.)

“Whenever anyone tells me they ‘adore’ On The Road – which doesn’t happen often because I don’t hang out with sixteen-year-olds – I can’t help but think she or he isn’t particularly well-read, just eager to come off as adventurous, spontaneous, and/or sexy.”

One of Baker’s commenters likened being a woman who enjoys Kerouac to being a black person who likes Gone With The Wind or a banker who likes The Communist Manifesto. Another interesting take by a reader was that Dean Moriarty was actually Kerouac’s manifestation of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.

On April 8th this year the goddess herself Kim Gordon tweeted: “[Beat] role models are over rated. Set male evolution back to caveman era,” possibly referencing her ex-husband’s new band (Chelsea Light Moving) and their song “Burroughs.”

Is it fair to morally judge an artist’s work based on how he lived his life if all of his work is autobiographical and barely fictionalized?

Personally if I purged my bookshelves, real and virtual, of all the alcoholics and misanthropes – let alone all the manic-depressives, opium addicts, suicides, eccentric asexuals, adulterers and misogynists – I would hardly have any books left. In fact, I would probably have remaining to me some dictionaries, an anonymous booklet on reciting the Divine Mercy chaplet, The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (first edition), and my husband’s copy of Henley’s Formulas for Home & Workshop.

So it would be a real bummer if from now on when I read On The Road I have to take Dean Moriarty not as a fictional, folkloric, mythic, modern Western American character but as the actual man (Neal Cassady) on which Moriarty is based, who, to be fair, was rather fucked-up. I don’t want to be a Monday morning armchair shrink and classify Moriarty as a likely bipolar, child molesting, sex addict, kleptomaniac, sociopath with ADHD who abused cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogenics (later) and every woman who crossed his charismatic path. I don’t research Buddhism to determine whether the kind portrayed in The Dharma Bums is accurate and doctrinally sound either.

Taking Beat literature out of the context of the time and culture in which it was written robs it of too much of its power and importance. It’s unrealistic to examine written works from the late 1940’s and 1950’s and excoriate their views of women based on modern Feminist standards that would have been quite alien to men and women of that time. (Have these anti-Beat critics have ever even met and conversed with real-life old men in their eighties and nineties?)

Ted Joans’ line “So you want to be hip little girls?” from his poem “The Sermon” is over the top, yes, but try finding literature written by men from the post-war era that didn’t contain some degree of chauvinism and less than perfect female characterization.

Despite Kerouac’s many flaws, Nikolopoulos summed up the influence that On The Road had on her life as a young woman:

It didn’t occur to me that I needed a boyfriend or even a friend to accompany me to art galleries or readings or to make my life full. I wasn’t looking for my Jack Kerouac. I was Jack Kerouac.

Below, Jack Kerouac on ‘The Steve Allen Show,’ 1959:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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‘Women and their allies are coming for you’: THIS is how you deal with right-wing law-makers
02:17 pm



protesting the state senate
Dissidence is frequently intimidated into propriety. Folks come ready to protest their government, full of piss and vinegar, prepared to hand lawmakers their collective ass, but they freeze up amidst the pomp and circumstance of politics (and lots of cops).

It’s especially hard when the politicians you’re addressing are mired in right-wing reactionary culture—coming from a red state that I maintain a love/hate relationship with, I saw this one all the time. So I nearly got choked up when I watched this woman (identified only by her Twitter handle, @VictorianPrude) 28-year-old activist Sarah Slamen say everything she really wanted to say to the Texas Senate, even when they tried to shut her down.

Because you shouldn’t be polite to fascists. You should scare the living shit out of them.


Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Men Wearing Their Girlfriends’ Clothes’ is my new favorite thing
08:37 am



man in dress
To be fair, when you already have hair like a Democratic Senator’s wife, you’ve already started to embrace The Pretty
Spanish photographer Jon Uriarte is not gender-bending with his project, “The men under the influence.” In fact, these pictures of men in their girlfriends’ clothes only emphasizes masculinity in a way that belies the girly threads. It’s not even drag—it’s dudes looking completely incongruous to their clothes, despite sometimes looking totally comfortable (and sometimes pretty hot). It’s oddly mesmerizing, especially when the clothes aren’t really far off from “men’s” clothes, betraying the increasing gender neutrality of fashion.

Uriarte describes his project thusly:

“The men under the influence” addresses the recent change in roles in heterosexual relationships from the relationships of our predecessors and how those changes have affected men in particular. the photos attempt to capture men’s sense of loss reference, now that women have taken a step forward and have finally come into their own as equal partners. The project consists of full-length portraits of men wearing the clothes of their girlfriends or wives, taken in the space shared by the couple.

I’m not that familiar with Spain’s gender politics, but I’m sure that anxieties around emasculation are at least as prevalent there as they would be anywhere else. In nearly every developed country you have a current of reactionaries bemoaning the death of traditional gender roles (as if they’ve somehow been completely eradicated). The project is a compelling way of dealing with evolving romantic relations, but avoids the false nostalgia for a time when “men were men.”
man in jumper
man in dress
man in pencil skirt
man in tights
man in gf's jeans
Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Barbie doll created with average US woman’s measurements is repulsive hag
07:17 am



I, for one, am baffled that anyone has sex with women at all.

Just kidding! She’s totally cute!

Artist Nickolay Lamm, who previously created “clean-faced” Barbies intended to look makeup-free, has gotton even more ambitious with his most recent conceptual Barbie project. Using the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s measurements of an average 19-year-old woman, he has created a Barbie shaped like an actual person. Declaring, “we should at least be open to the possibility that Barbie may negatively influence young girls,” Lamm taps into a can of worms that’s been debated in parenting and feminist circles forever—when children use play to learn, is there really such thing as “just a doll?”

On some level, hyper-realistic dolls are a bit silly anyways, since anyone who’s ever been around kids will admit you can draw a smiley face on a jar of pickles and they’ll play with it like a doll. In many parts of the world, dolls don’t attempt the detail of Barbie, and people don’t have to think about dolls’ “bodies.” On the other hand, when a doll is produced with such an uncanny attention to detail, especially when it’s a hyper-stylized depiction of the sort of bodies ubiquitously heralded as “hot,” (and oh so rarely achieved via nature alone) you have to wonder if kids are internalizing the Barbie “body” as something attainable.

Regardless, it’s an interesting concept, and it says something about how deeply ingrained Barbie has become as an American icon that a realistic body makeover looks jarring and surreal.
Barbie’s got back.

Via Bust

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Thousands join Wendy Davis at Texas Capitol to protest anti-abortion bill
01:01 pm

Current Events

Wendy Davis

Beginning at around 11:00 A.M. today, thousands of women and men started gathering in front of the steps of the Texas Capitol Building in Austin to protest the anti-abortion bill that is being brought before the Legislature by Rick Perry for a second time. Senator Wendy Davis was on hand to continue her fight for women’s rights.

Lots of buzz at the rally about a Hillary/Wendy ticket in 2016. It might take two strong women to counteract the steaming piles of macho bullshit out there right now.

Dangerous Minds’ contributor Mirgun Akyavas took these photos just a couple of hours ago.







Feel free to share these photos. Please credit Mirgun Akyavas.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Wendy Davis’ ‘filibuster shoes’ getting the Amazon ‘review-bomb’ treatment
03:48 pm


Wendy Davis

A selection of some of the Amazon “review bombs” showing up on the entry for the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe as worn by future Texas governor Wendy Davis during her 11-hour marathon filibuster in the Texas Senate this week:

Marathon shoe for marathon filibustering
The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day.
Published 2 days ago by M. Black

Men, do not try these on!
I tried on a pair at the local mall and suddenly Texas Republicans started telling me what to do with my genitals. They started explaining reproduction to me like I was a seventh grader. Unfortunately, being male, I had no way to shut the whole thing down. I’m so confused…
Published 1 day ago by Joshua Jones

A father writes:

Every woman deserves a choice of shoe
I would not necessarily want to see my daughters wearing these shoes. But the important thing is that they have the freedom to make that choice for themselves.
Published 2 days ago by Michael Larkin (Rhode Island, USA)

This one’s totally positive:

Superwoman Force Field Powers
These shoes create an invisible force field of power.

The wearer of these shoes becomes more righteous, beautiful, graceful and powerful than any other Senator in the chamber. The ground moves underneath them like an earthquake through all of Texas. They have a kryptonite effect on Republicans who are not accustomed to women speaking without permission, or voting, or being anywhere outside the kitchen or nursery room. They emit rays of hope in a dark State of uncertainty and fear. They have the power to turn a big red state blue again.

They are the most powerful shoes in the Universe!
Published 1 day ago by William Wise

Here’s the best one:

Worked fine for about 20 weeks
These shoes were great for standing around in. However, after I had the shoes for about 20 weeks, one of them got stuck in my closet. It was very difficult to get out. The only way I could get it out was by inserting a set of pliers into the closet and pulling parts of the shoe out piece by piece. After, I was able to reassemble the shoe from the torn-up parts (just to make sure I wasn’t missing any pieces), but that was pretty much the end of that shoe’s life. Unfortunately, I sprained my wrist trying to get all the parts out, and I couldn’t get seen at the local hospital because my doctor doesn’t have privileges there.

Some people have criticized my getting the shoe out this way, but they have never lived through getting a shoe stuck in the closet. So they can’t judge me. And besides, it’s my choice to do what I want with my shoe.
Published 1 day ago by PW

Not to be a buzzkill, but before you buy a pair of these shoes to support Wendy Davis, a search on the FEC’s political donations database revealed that the owner of Mizuno, Robert Puccini, donates to the Republican National Committee. If you really want to support Wendy Davis, donate to her campaign fund here.

Responding to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s incredibly asinine “backhanded compliment” that he made about Davis (without mentioning her by name) yesterday, the future governor of Texas told MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

“I would say to him, that I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life. I’m so proud of my daughters but I could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice and it really isn’t for him to make statements like that.”

Below, the Morning Joe segment:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Wendy Davis’ filibuster was cool and all, but did you see what was going on RIGHT OUTSIDE?
11:06 am



Texas protesters
Photo courtesy of Michael Ganther
If you’re not stateside (or if you’ve been living under a rock), you might not have been following Texas bill SB 5, which would have shut down 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics and banned all abortions after 20 weeks. Heroic Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis (who saw her office firebombed last year due to her support of Planned Parenthood) filibustered for thirteen hours to kill the bill, a surprise and relief in this political atmosphere.

However, what I think deserves at least the same amount of coverage are the everyday folks whorallied against SB 5. Check this out!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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