To help GOP males avoid the egregious gaffe of saying things like “legitimate rape” this election cycle, forward-thinking House Speaker John Boehner is offering tips to fellow Republicans on what not to say to and about women. Politico reported recently that Boehner's top aides met with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents and that the National Republican Congressional Committee has held multiple sessions to coach Republican aides on “messaging against women opponents.”
Two weeks ago, women incarcerated at Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona staged a hunger strike. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who runs the jail, told media that the women were striking over the all-vegetarian meals being served. His direct quote was actually: "They ought to shut up and eat what they have, they happen to be in jail and I'm the sheriff and I'm the chief chef I decide what they eat.” Spinning the women's actions as just a knee-jerk response to having to eat vegetarian food helps turn a serious hunger strike into a punchline.
CeCe McDonald is scheduled to be released from prison this month. This is a very big deal. Her case is a prime example of how the legal system can (and often does) work against protecting LGBTQ people.
I first noticed Suey Park last month when I came across her daily infographics depicting the number of days that Marissa Alexanderwas spending in prison even after an appeals court overturned her conviction. As an Asian American woman who had been following Marissa's story and who has been active in prison abolition work for all of my adult life, I was thrilled to see another Asian American woman publicly working to free Marissa.
Then this past Sunday, Suey Park started #NotYourAsianSidekick, a Twitter conversation originally meant to discuss problems within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, issues with white feminism, and the voices of those usually excluded from more mainstream AAPI discussions, such as people who are queer, disabled, mixed race and/or sex-positive. Very quickly, #NotYourAsianSidekick exploded, with nearly 34,000 tweets using the hashtag that first day.
What happens when states contract with private, for-profit companies to both run their prisons and provide prison health care? Carol Lester, a 73-year-old grandmother, found out shortly after arriving at the New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility in Grants.
At times, it can seem like the best way to get good treatment from the government is to be a corporation. Since corporations are people and have free speech thanks to the Citizens United decision, do they have any other rights normally afforded to human citizens? Depending on what the Supreme Court decides in coming months, corporations may have the right to decide their employees’ birth control choices.
Black Friday is a good time to reflect on the need for better minimum wages.
Both Walmart and McDonalds have recently come under fire for practices that acknowledge their employees are struggling financially yet make no move to pay them a livable wage. This November, a Walmart in Ohio had bins that let employees donate food to other employees so they could eat on Thanksgiving. A McDonalds website that gives tips to its employees recommended that they sell holiday gifts to make quick cash, cut their food into smaller portions so they feel like they’ve eaten more, apply for food stamps, get a second job, and to "Stop complaining. Stress hormones rise by 15 percent after 10 minutes of complaining."
Photo of a Texas pro-choice protester by Mirsasha (Creative Commons)
For the past decade, individual states have waged all out war on reproductive rights. Every week it seems like there’s a new abortion restrictions bill that progressive advocates desperately scramble to fight. But last week, for the first time in ten years, Democrats went on the offensive on abortion rights: a coalition of Senators and Representatives introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), the first federal bill in a decade that would expand abortion rights.
It's been over a week since 19-year-old Renisha McBride was shot and killed.
For those of you who missed the news, Renisha McBride was a recent high school graduate whose car broke down in Dearborn Heights, a predominantly white suburb of Detroit. McBride knocked on the door of a house to ask for help. The man who answered the door shot her in the face.