“No one’s serious at seventeen,” wrote Arthur Rimbaud in the 1870 poem “Roman.” When these words part from the pair of pillowy lips belonging to Isabelle (Marine Vacth), the teenaged protagonist of François Ozon’s Young and Beautiful, the audience gets the feeling she has chosen to become a prostitute chiefly to disprove them.
It makes sense for public health departments to invest in distributing free condoms. But why would a city spend a million dollars a giving out free condoms—then allow police to use those very same condoms as evidence of prostitution? This may sound ridiculous, but this has been the reality in New York City.
This month, Jacobin launched a book series with Verso offering a socialist perspective on cultural, political, and economic issues, including Melissa Gira Grant’s new book on the sex work industry, Playing the Whore: the Work of Sex Work. Grant has written about sex and politics for such outlets as the Nation, the Guardian, $pread and as a contributing editor of Jacobin.
• Another person of color has been shot and killed by a white person after seeking help following a car accident and being "mistaken" for an "intruder." People in Detroit are holding vigils this week for 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who was shot in the back of the head after asking a neighbor for help after a crash. [Slate, Dispatches From the Underclass]
• Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted on and passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would federally legislate against job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and includes provisions to protect trans people for the first time. Now many, including President Obama, are urging the House to consider the bill as well. [Huffington Post]
• Filmmaker Dina Fiasconaro has launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of her documentary, Women and Meds, which focuses on women who take medication for mental illness and want children. Check out the trailer here. [Kickstarter]
• A Norwegian citizen visiting Dubai reported to police that she had been raped. The police responded by charging her with the crime of having sex outside of marriage. Thanks to international attention, she's now free—but what would have happened if she wasn't a foreigner? [Slate]
I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to be taken care of. I wanted to be rescued. I was sexualized long before I sexualized myself. Even as a child, I knew the way men looked at me. I knew what it meant. In Mexico, men called out in the street and hissed when I walked past. Even older men—friend's fathers, male teachers—even as a little girl. Even in grade school, I knew what it meant to be a woman and I was no longer a little girl. At nineteen years old, I was well aware that my body had become a woman's body. Even as a child, I knew what that was worth.