1-25-19 The female price of male pleasure
The world is disturbingly comfortable with the fact that women sometimes leave a sexual encounter in tears. The real problem isn't that we — as a culture — don't sufficiently consider men's biological reality. The problem is rather that theirs is literally the only biological reality we ever bother to consider. Research shows that 30 percent of women report pain during vaginal sex, 72 percent report pain during anal sex, and "large proportions" don't tell their partners when sex hurts. Or, since sex is the subject here, what about how our society's scientific community has treated female dyspareunia — the severe physical pain some women experience during sex — vs. erectile dysfunction (which, while lamentable, is not painful)? PubMed has 393 clinical trials studying dyspareunia. Vaginismus? 10. Vulvodynia? 43. Erectile dysfunction? 1,954. That's right: PubMed has almost five times as many clinical trials on male sexual pleasure as it has on female sexual pain. And why? Because we live in a culture that sees female pain as normal and male pleasure as a right. This is especially true where sex is concerned. Faking an orgasm achieves all kinds of things: It can encourage the man to finish, which means the pain (if you're having it) can finally stop. It makes him feel good and spares his feelings. If being a good lover means making the other person feel good, then you've excelled on that front too. Total win. Women have spent decades politely ignoring their own discomfort and pain to give men maximal pleasure. They've gamely pursued love and sexual fulfillment despite tearing and bleeding and other symptoms of "bad sex." They've worked in industries where their objectification and harassment was normalized, and chased love and sexual fulfillment despite painful conditions no one, especially not their doctors, took seriously. (Webmaster's comment: Amazing Article. A must read for all women and men!)
12-30-18 The health risk of sexual harassment
When public-health researchers look at people — for studies, at least; not sure what they're like at dinner parties — they think in terms of "exposures." Exposures are factors in the environment that have the potential to affect people's health. Exposures can include everything from air pollution in people's neighborhoods, to how much radiation folks encounter at home and work, to the racism people face (which has been shown to hurt their health). One "exposure" that's gotten a lot of attention lately, but which hasn't been very much studied as a public-health risk, is sexual harassment and assault. "There's been such a dearth of research in this area," says Nancy Krieger, an epidemiologist at Harvard University who studies health inequalities. That lack is especially notable because so many Americans — women especially — face sexual harassment. In a recent study of more than 300 healthy, middle-aged women in Pittsburgh, about one in five reported having been sexually harassed at work. About the same number said they had been sexually assaulted before. "That's not a trivial exposure," Krieger says. The new study is one of the few to link having been exposed to sexual harassment and assault and health outcomes. Women in the study who said they had faced workplace sexual harassment were more likely to have high blood pressure. Women who said they had dealt with sexual assault — defined as unwanted contact involving either person's private body parts — were more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety. Both were more likely to have insomnia. The study didn't go into too much detail. Study volunteers were just asked to answer "yes" or "no" to whether they had experienced harassment or assault before. In a field where such measures are lacking, however, the study was an important start. "Given the high prevalence of sexual harassment and assault, addressing these prevalent and potent social exposures may be critical to promoting health and preventing disease in women," the study's authors, a team of psychiatrists and social scientists from the United States and Switzerland, wrote in their paper, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
FGM Is Back!
11-23-18 Shock after ban on genital mutilation ruled unconstitutional
Women’s rights advocates said they were shocked when a federal judge in Michigan ruled this week that a law protecting girls from genital mutilation was unconstitutional. They called his decision a serious blow to girls’ rights. Legal experts said the judge made clear that U.S. states have authority to ban the practice, though only about half do. Here is a look at the ruling, which dismissed several charges against a doctor accused of cutting nine girls in three states as part of a religious custom, and what could happen next. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was among eight people charged in federal court in Michigan in connection with the genital mutilation of nine girls from Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois between 2015 and 2017. Authorities alleged that mothers brought their girls to Nagarwala when they were roughly 7 years old for the procedure. Nagarwala has denied any crime was committed and said she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect, the India-based Dawoodi Bohra. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman threw out mutilation and conspiracy charges against all the defendants. He ruled that a 1996 federal law that bans female genital mutilation was unconstitutional because Congress didn’t have the power to regulate the behavior in the first place. Heidi Kitrosser, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, explained that Congress doesn’t have unlimited authority to legislate and can only make laws that fall within powers explicitly outlined in the Constitution. In this case, Friedman found that Congress lacked authority to regulate the practice under the Commerce Clause because the procedure is not a commercial activity. He also said Congress’ treaty powers don’t give it authority, because there was no rational relationship between treaty obligations that call for equal rights and a law banning genital mutilation. But the judge clearly stated that the power to regulate female genital mutilation lies with state governments, which have primary authority in defining and enforcing criminal law. “The court really could not have been clearer in suggesting this is something that states can do,” Kitrosser said. (Webmaster's comment: As punishment for performing FGM all females and MALES involved in this evil practice should have their sexual organs completely removed.)
11-20-18 Ban on female genital mutilation ruled unconstitutional
A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that the US law against female genital mutilation is unconstitutional, dismissing charges against eight people, including two doctors. District Judge Bernard Friedman said “Congress overstepped its bounds” by outlawing the practice known as female circumcision, or cutting. Friedman said it was up to states rather than Congress to regulate the practice. The ruling dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who performed the surgery, and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar. The doctors were charged in the genital mutilation of nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic. In addition, the same charges were dismissed against Attar’s wife, Farida, and Tahera Shafiq, who assisted in the procedure, as well as four women who took their daughters to the clinic. Michigan was the 26th state to officially ban the practice. The state law was passed a few months after Nagarwala’s April 2017 arrest. Female genital mutilation has been condemned by the United Nations, but is common for girls in some parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
FGM, Female Genital Mutilation!
Still being practiced in the United States!
6-17-17 I Underwent Genital Mutilation as a Child—Right Here in the United States
I Underwent Genital Mutilation as a Child—Right Here in the United States
A doctor in Michigan was just arrested for cutting little girls. She’s not the only one. Last week, an Indian American doctor was arrested in Michigan, charged with performing female genital cutting on two seven-year-old girls. As the story hit the local press and then the New York Times, and as it was shared by George Takei and Nicholas Kristof, my phone kept blowing up with breathless messages and links from childhood friends across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half a million girls in the United States were affected by or at risk for mutilation in 2012. I know of dozens of Bohra women whose parents had them cut in America over the last 30 years, from New York City to Houston to Chicago. Others were taken out of country to have the procedure done, a practice called “vacation cutting” that’s now also illegal in the United States. There’s also little consensus about how the actual procedure is supposed to work; it’s often up to the interpretation of whoever is wielding the blade. In some cases, like mine, a “pinch of skin” from the clitoral hood is cut away, leaving no lasting physical trauma. Sometimes the entire clitoris is removed, or surrounding tissue is also damaged. Last year, writer Mariya Karimjee went on This American Life to tell the story of her cutting, which was performed in Pakistan and left her unable to have sex without unendurable pain. Bohras even disagree on why khatna is performed. The prevailing view is that it keeps girls and women from becoming sexually promiscuous. Others say it has something to do with “removing bad germs” and liken it to male circumcision, which is widely (though not universally) believed to have hygienic benefits. The World Health Organization says female genital mutilation has no known health benefits and “violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.” (Webmaster's comment: Female Genital Mutilation is alive and well here in the United States. Sex is for men to enjoy, women are here solely for men's pleasure and to make their babies. What an evil concept!)
4-24-16 'This is what it's like to pee after female genital mutilation'
'This is what it's like to pee after female genital mutilation'
Some 200 million women and girls across 30 countries have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). But how do survivors live with the pain of peeing, periods and childbirth? "The first time you notice your physicality has changed is your pee," says Hibo Wardere. Hibo, now 46, was subjected to what is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "type three" mutilation when she was six. This means all of her labia were cut off and she was then stitched together, leaving a tiny hole she compares to the size of a matchstick. Her clitoris was also removed. "An open wound rubbed with salt or hot chilli - it felt like that," she recalls. "And then you realise your wee isn't coming out the way it used to come. It's coming out as droplets, and every drop was worse than the one before. This takes four or five minutes - and in that four or five minutes you're experiencing horrific pain."
2-22-16 Doctors claim legalising some genital mutilation may help girls
Doctors claim legalising some genital mutilation may help girls
Controversially, two US gynaecologists are arguing that legalising milder FGM procedures would lead to less harm overall, and be more culturally sensitive. Should any kind of female genital mutilation be legal? Two US-based gynaecologists are arguing that legalising less severe forms of the surgery could protect girls from more extreme operations, but most ethicists and medics are against the proposal. Worldwide, around 3 million girls every year are subjected to genital mutilation, mostly in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The practice can range in severity from nicking genitals to removing the clitoris and labia then stitching up most of the vagina. Such operations are now illegal in the UK and US, but Kavita Shah Arora and Allan Jacobs, gynaecologists based in Ohio and New York, say such laws might leave girls more vulnerable to harm by pushing the practice underground. They argue that so far, attempts to clamp down on FGM have not succeeded in wiping it out, and can be viewed as racist or culturally insensitive. (Webmaster's comment: Only in America! A blatant attack on a woman's right to sexual pleasure, a blatant attack on a woman's sexual freedom, by the American medical profession no less. The American Medical Association should remove the licenses to practice medicine of the doctor's advocating it. A doctor must never do harm or advocate harm otherwise they are just like the many American doctors who practiced genital mutilation for the "girl's or woman's own good" from 1860's through the 1960's. (See the Genital Mutilation Pages Abuse of Women Coverup and Genital Mutilation Movies.)This is a travesty of ethics and morality. Anyone who thinks this practice is some kind of cultural or religious "right" is mentally ill should be confined in a psychiatric clinic until they are cured.)
Very Good News
7-12-18 Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Want Roe v. Wade to Stand
As the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the public is strongly opposed to any attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Currently, 64% of Americans believe Roe v. Wade should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned.
- 28%, including 51% Republicans and 13% Democrats, want Roe v. Wade overturned
- 49% say Supreme Court nominee's views are a reason to reject
- 46% think rejection based on nominee's views is unjustified
4-9-18 World’s first over-the-phone abortion service hailed a success
An over-the-phone abortion service to end unwanted pregnancies in their early stages – operating in Australia - has been found to be safe and effective. An over-the-phone abortion service to end unwanted pregnancies in their early stages in Australia has been found to be safe, effective and convenient. Australia became the first country where women can legally access abortion pills without having to see a medical professional in person in 2015. Instead, women can order the pills over the phone from a private provider, called the Tabbot Foundation. A study of the first 1000 women who used the service shows that over 95 per cent had an abortion at home with no complications, and did not need to see a doctor afterwards. Over 97 per cent said they were highly satisfied with the service. Two-thirds of Tabbot’s clients were from rural areas, where abortions have traditionally been difficult to access. “It means they don’t have to travel long distances or face possible judgement from the one doctor or pharmacist in their town,” says Paul Hyland, the gynaecologist who set up the foundation. But Hyland says the service may benefit women in urban areas too, because it means they can avoid any protestors outside abortion clinics. Tabbot currently provides abortions to about 50 women a week and the demand is steadily increasing, he says. When a woman requests abortion pills, she is first called by a doctor from the Tabbot Foundation to rule out any medical conditions that might make the procedure unsafe. They also organise a blood test and ultrasound scan at a local provider to confirm she is less than nine weeks pregnant, because one of the drugs involved carries a higher risk of complications after this time. Once the doctor gives the go-ahead, a package is mailed to the woman with the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, as well as painkillers, antibiotics and anti-nausea medication. A nurse calls her after the package has arrived to explain how to take the drugs and calls her a set number of hours afterwards to check she is OK. A 24-hour hotline provides additional support if needed. The cost of the service is A$250, which is half that of the up-front cost of an equivalent abortion at a private bricks-and-mortar clinic in Australia.
Some More Good News
4-28-17 New website helps US women self-induce abortions
New website helps US women self-induce abortions
An international advocacy group has launched a website in the US to help women self-induce abortions due to concerns about restrictive laws. Women Help Women, a Netherlands-based group, wants to provide guidance for American women who may have obtained abortion pills illegally. Abortion is legal in the US, but more recently several Republican states have passed stringent abortion laws. Some US women have voiced concerns that their abortion rights could be revoked. "There is a lot of fear and worry that, with the current administration and restrictions that are to the enormous disadvantage of girls and women, that access to clinical care might further diminish," Kinga Jelinska, the group's executive director, told the Washington Post. Women Help Women already advises women around the world on how to take mifepristone, which blocks pregnancy development, and misoprostol, which induces miscarriage. The two drugs, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are used in combination until the 10th week of pregnancy, but must be administered by a health care clinician. On Thursday, the group launched a new section called Self-Managed Abortions; Safe and Supported (SASS), which features counsellors who can provide support in real-time and make sure that self-induced abortions are "medically and legally safe as possible", according to the website.
12-13-17 'Feminism' is Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year
A leading US dictionary has named "feminism" as its word of 2017 following a surge in online searches. Merriam-Webster said interest in the term was driven by women's marches, new TV shows and films on women's issues and the string of news stories on sexual assault and harassment claims. The number of people searching for the word was up 70% on 2016, it said. The dictionary defines feminism as "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes". It adds that it is also "organised activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". In January the first spike in interest occurred after the Women's March on Washington and similar marches in cities across the world. Many wore pink knitted "pussyhats" in reference to controversial remarks Donald Trump was recorded making in 2005. March organisers claimed that women's rights were under threat following the election of Mr Trump to the White House. The following month, interest in feminism surged again when White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she did not consider herself a feminist. Speaking at a conservative event, she said she found it difficult for describe herself as a feminist because she was not "anti-male" and "pro-abortion". She said she was a "product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances", which she described as "conservative feminism". There was further interest in the meaning of feminism with the release of the TV series The Handmaid's Tale, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, and the hit film Wonder Woman, Merriam-Webster said.
A GREAT BOARD GAME
9-3-17 This young entrepreneur created a board game about arranged marriage
This young entrepreneur created a board game about arranged marriage
For many young women and their families across the globe, marriage isn't a game. In fact, it's taken so seriously that matches are arranged sometimes years in advance. Often, not much thought is given to how the young women feel about their partners. Well now, such marriages are a game. A board game called, fittingly, "Arranged!" "The game play involves a matchmaker running around, and trying to chase down three teenage girls, while they're trying to avoid her and a loveless marriage," the game's creator, 24-year-old Nashra Balagamwala, explains. The Pakistan-born graphic designer says she had just finished art school at the Rhode Island School of Design and had been working at a major games company in New York City when she came up with the idea for the game. Balagamwala says she was inspired by the pressure she felt from her own family to submit to an arranged marriage. "I tried everything to avoid it," she says. "I have worn fake engagement rings. I have worn skin tanning lotions" because in Pakistan, dark skin is considered unappealing. "I made sure I was seen in public with my male friends." And now, all of those creative machinations have become material for her board game. Players avoid "aunty," the nosy matchmaker, by drawing cards with commands like "You were seen at the mall with boys. The aunty moves 3 spaces away from you." Other cards that keep aunty away include "You were seen wearing a sleeveless shirt in public," "your older sister married a white man," and "the aunty finds out you used tampons before marriage" — which is also a no-no in Pakistan. Balagamwala raised the seed money for the game on Kickstarter. Now it's in pre-production. She already has more than 500 orders. She says the game is getting a great reception. Better yet, it's sparking some much needed conversation. (Webmaster's comment: If I can get it in English I'm going to buy this game! And bring it to a meetup.)
11-14-18 Irish outcry over teenager's underwear used in rape trial
A series of protests over sexual consent have been taking place in Ireland, a week after a man was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old. In the trial, the defence lawyer told the jury: "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front." The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of rape shortly afterwards. The controversy led one Irish MP to hold up a lace thong in parliament to highlight "routine victim-blaming". Ruth Coppinger produced the blue lacy underwear in the Dáil (Irish parliament) from her sleeve on Tuesday. "It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here... how do you think a rape victim or a woman feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in a court?" The case, in which the man was cleared of rape, was originally reported by the Irish Examiner newspaper on 6 November. The accused maintained that the sexual contact between him and the girl, which took place in a laneway in Cork, had been consensual. Details of the closing argument presented by his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell, however, attracted widespread attention and prompted a series of online protest movements. "Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" she asked, according to the Examiner's report. "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front." (Webmaster's comment: So a woman is now at fault for being raped if she wears sexy underwear. "SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT!" Men will find any excuse for justifying rape! RAPE IS NEVER A WOMEN'S FAULT!)
5-1-18 Spain 'wolf pack' case: Fury over verdict sparks #MeToo campaign
Outrage amongst women in Spain over a court's decision to clear five men of the crime of rape after they performed and filmed non-consensual sex with a teenager has led to an extraordinary outpouring of personal stories of male abuse on social media. Using the hashtag #cuéntalo (tell it), tens of thousands of women have decided to show their solidarity with the victim in the "wolf pack" case, so called because of the name of the WhatsApp group her attackers used to comment on their sordid acts. WARNING: You may find some of the accounts in this story disturbing. Women have detailed instances in which they have suffered unwanted sexual attention or violent abuse from male family members, strangers or teachers and others in positions of authority. The stories have trickled in to form a flood of anger about what women have had to endure, mostly in silence - until now. (Webmaster's comment: These same cases are repeated millions of times in America!)
- "It was my father and it started before I can remember," wrote Elisa. "Two years old, three? Less? I have just turned 41 and a few months ago I went back into therapy because, even if I think I have, I haven't got over it. Chronic depression, anxiety attacks, nightmares… I never had a partner. Alone I feel safe."
- "When I was 12 a stranger masturbated on me on the city bus taking me home. I didn't move. I felt shame, guilt, disgust. I didn't tell anyone until years later. I lived as if it hadn't happened but I didn't wear a skirt again for years. It's the first one I remember."
- "I was 13 when my teacher started touching me without my consent and he did it for three months, I was living through a depression and tried suicide, I am telling this because I am not scared anymore."
- "15 years old. A quiet street. A young man throws himself at me from behind and gropes my bum. He whispers: you're lovely. I am speechless. He goes away. He comes back, doing the same but harder grabbing my hips and rubbing himself up against me. I scream. He goes away. Two people look at me. I feel shame."
- "Among the 12 occasions I remembered yesterday because of Cristina's #cuéntalo, I have an identical one to yours, at the age of 14. In the clubhouse toilet at a village party, opening the door to three men getting naked. 17. I am not telling about the times that I couldn't escape. It's painful to say: I am a judge and I never went to the police."
- "My husband abuses me. I ask for a divorce. The sentence obliges me to live on the second floor of my attacker's house. I tell my story on TV. He gets annoyed because I report it, he comes round, ties me to a chair and burns me alive. I am telling you because Ana Orantes cannot."
8-29-17 How science has fed stereotypes about women
How science has fed stereotypes about women
A new book shows how biased research branded women as inferior. Charles Darwin used his theory of evolution to argue that women were intellectually inferior and had not evolved for a work life outside the home. A recent book dispels that and other flawed notions about women. Early in Inferior, science writer Angela Saini recalls a man cornering her after a signing for her book Geek Nation, on science in India. “Where are all the women scientists?” he asked, then answered his own question. “Women just aren’t as good at science as men are. They’ve been shown to be less intelligent.” Saini fought back with a few statistics on girls’ math abilities, but soon decided that nothing she could say would convince him. It’s a situation that may feel familiar to many women. “What I wish I had was a set of scientific arguments in my armory,” she writes. So she decided to learn the truth about what science really does tell us about differences between the sexes. “For everyone who has faced the same situation,” she writes, “the same desperate attempt to not lose control but have at hand some real facts and a history to explain them, here they are.” In Inferior, Saini marshals plenty of facts and statistics contradicting sexist notions about women’s bodies and minds. She cites study after study showing little or no difference in male and female capabilities. But it’s the book’s historical perspective that makes it most compelling. Only by understanding the cultural context of the men whose studies and ideas first pointed to gender imbalances can we see how deeply biases run, Saini argues. Charles Darwin’s influential ideas reflected his times, for instance. In The Descent of Man, he wrote that “man has ultimately become superior to woman” via evolution. To a woman active in her local women’s movement, Darwin wrote, “there seems to me to be a great difficulty from the laws of inheritance ... in [women] becoming the intellectual equals of man.” If that idea sounds absurd now, don’t fool yourself into thinking it has vanished. Saini’s book is full of examples right up to today of scientists who have started from this and other flawed premises, which have led to generations of flawed studies and results that reinforce stereotypes. But the tide has been turning, as more women have entered science and more scientists of both sexes seek to remove bias from their work. Saini does an excellent job of dissecting research on evolution, neuroscience and even the long-standing notion that women’s sexual behavior is driven by their interest in stable, monogamous relationships. By the end, it’s clear that science doesn’t divide men and women; we’ve done that to ourselves. And as scientists become more rigorous, we get closer to seeing ourselves as we really are.
7-25-17 Spanish deal to tackle gender-based violence
Spanish deal to tackle gender-based violence
Spain's political parties are celebrating a "historic" €1bn (£895m; $1.2bn) five-year programme to tackle gender-based violence. The measures include providing victims of abuse with six months' unconditional unemployment benefit to give them a new start, and outlawing imprisoned abusers from being visited by their children. The agreement was reached after six months and 66 expert hearings. Reports say 870 women died from gender-based violence between 2003 and 2016. (Webmaster's comment: Over 15,000 American women have been murdered by their husbands of boyfriends between 2003 and 2016!) So far in 2017, at least 31 women have died along with six minors. (Webmaster's comment: So far over 600 American women have been murdered by husbands and boyfriends in 2017.) Sixteen minors have been orphaned. Spanish politicians have pursued successive programmes to address the issue since 1997, when 60-year-old Ana Orantes was beaten, thrown over a balcony and then burned to death by her ex-husband after repeatedly complaining to authorities about his violent behaviour. She had been forced to divide her home with her husband on the order of a divorce court. Among the 200 measures that received parliamentary endorsement late on Monday are:
- The status of victim will be extended to women who have not yet filed a criminal complaint, to allow them to access safeguards and assistance
- Mechanisms for identifying victims of gender-based violence will be established in hospital emergency rooms and primary care
- Children orphaned by gender-based violence will have priority access to state benefits including educational support. Their guardians (excluding the abuser) will receive tax benefits and priority access to housing
- Tougher sanctions for gender-based crimes committed on the internet
- School curriculums to include lessons to tackle sexism and raise awareness of the feminist movement
(Webmaster's comment: We need to do the same things in American! Over 17 times as many women die from gender-based violence in America as in Spain!)
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