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Entries in women's rights (124)

Thursday
Apr252013

Anne Slams Kylie Bisutti As Agent Of Women's Oppression In Her Message That Women Must Cover Up & Be Modest

British Vogue appears to be dailing for page views today, with their headline Former Angel Slams Victoria’s Secret. Thinking I would be reading about a real Victoria’s Secret Angel, I ran into the self-serving, highly-promotional, born again Kylie Bisutti who “has clarified the reasons why she quit as one of the faces of Victoria’s Secet.”

There is no clarification because we read this story before.

“That’s when it hit me,” she recalled. “I was being paid to strip down and pose provocatively to titillate men. It wasn’t about modelling clothes anymore; I felt like a piece of meat. The next day, I broke down and started sobbing. I was in my bedroom and dropped to my knees and started to pray, saying: ‘God, why did you have me win the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition if it was going to make me feel this way? I’m not honouring my husband. I just want answers!’”

Bisutti — now married and living in Montana — is launching the next version of her public face with a book and clothing line designed with modesty in mind. Today’s women have no trouble covering up if they choose to do so, and I pray she’s not launching a line of burqas. I say that — not because I have a deep-seeded problem with burqas — but because I do have a problem with conservative religions that focus on female modesty.

The women of Egypt are living through this very nightmare as we speak, as the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to reintroduce burqas into public life for Egyptian women. In my long-standing involvement in trying to stop the brutal flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan for not wearing proper clothing, I assure Kylie Bisutti that her message only fuels the global surge of right-wing radicalism that is taking control of the bodies of American women. Think transvaginal ultrasounds; using an IUD is called murder; and the founder of Eden Foods now facing a boycott for suing the Obama Administration over the contraception coverage piece of the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods founder Michael Potter believes that people engaging in birth control are unsavory people performing unnatural acts.

Religion & Women’s Oppression

Jimmy Carter on Religion As Agent of Women’s Oppression

Speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne, Australia, Dec., 2009

I am pleased to address the Parliament of World Religions about the vital role of religion in providing a foundation for – or correcting – the global scourge of discrimination and violence against women. As will be seen, my remarks represent the personal views of a Christian layman and a former political leader.

There are international agreements as well as our own Holy Scriptures that guide us:

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, origin … or other status …”

The Holy Bible tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge and address the gross acts of discrimination and violence against women that occur every day. Here are some well-known examples: continue

Anne’s Big Fight Ahead

Controlling Women’s Bodies Is A Fight To The Finish

Male-dominated global cultures continue to wrestle with female sexuality. The most repressive forms of Islam are at war with womens’ bodies, throwing head-to-coverage on the female form.

Simutaneously, Western societies, led by the Internet, unveil women’s bodies as never before, rendering us all voyeurs.

Some women do what they are told, having no political or cultural voice in how they are packaged for consumption. Others express their discontent of cultural realities around women’s bodies, making clear that they are ‘good girls’, when others are ‘bad’.

A third group, led by celebrity sensations like Shakira and Angelina Jolie, are using their fame to articulate a holistic essence of womanhood.

Shakira’s vision of woman as ‘she wolf’ outrages some people. But the Smart Sensuality women’s movement is growing culturally in its influence, and Shakira is a strong global voice in articulating this ‘new woman’.

Religions, led by Conservative Islam — but joined by the fundamentalist wings of most large religions — condemn immodesty in women. Just when it seems that we face nothing more than a black hole, a new dialogue is emerging from darkness on two fronts. The Internet dialogue that allows articulate people of diverse cultures to communicate about female sexuality and physicality is making for strange bedfellows. I wrote a life-changing journal essay a few weeks ago about burqas, prompting a rare exchange between Western and Muslim women who choose to veil themselves. (continue right column)

Shortly after that jolt of Internet traffic, I became the lead Western woman’s voice — in terms of expressed Internet support and number of postings — in the Lubna Ahmed Hussein case.

Refocusing my own mind around Khartoum’s intention to flog Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, I confront the reality of the subliminal, global passions that remain about female sexuality.

The very cultures cutting out the female clitoris are huge consumers of Internet porn. I have seen the statistics — no the IP addresses — with my own eyes. A male colleague showed me, and I was astonished. And women are dying because a glimpse of ankle has dishonored the family in these same countries.

Screaming that female sexuality must be contained, men also can’t get enough of it. This is a very dangerous, pathological reality for global women.

In America, Too, Hypocrisy Rules

Just this week I took a look at porn subscriptions in America.

As you might surmise, even in America, the states that yell the loudest about the need for women to ‘cover up’ and control their animalistic urges, sign up monthly in numbers that exceed New York, California and more liberal states — the ones with ‘no morals’.

This is the abyss of hypocrisy threatening women’s lives on a daily basis.

From my perspective, female sexuality is front and center, in the ‘battle for civilization’, even though the fight is clothed in religious identities.

One wonders if there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

As the women of Khartoum yell to the world that they’re not returning to the Dark Ages, and young female converts to Islam in America, Canada and France willingly take up the veil — often against the wishes or recommendations of their husbands and mothers — a strange voice came out of Khartoum the other night.

Roba Givia, a male Sudan Tribune journalist, reflecting on the whipping of women in Khartoum, wrote a superb piece Sudan is still living in an era of Arabs before Islam.

Many Local Sudanese Horrified By Flogging Woman Video Dec. 11, 2010

The horror of flogging in Sudan reared its head this week in a video that’s no less riveting in its inhumanity than the details of Lubna Hussein’s indencency hearings that went on for months in 2009. For new readers at Anne of Carversville, I became very involved in Lubna’s case in the summer of 2009, after being contacted by a loosely-confederated group of concerned men in the region.

My closest ally in that 2009 group returned to Facebook this week and contacted me with the video that frankly causes me nightmares. I have played this video over and over in my head awake and asleep.

There aren’t words to express my revulsion at the administering of ‘justice’ Sudan style to this young woman and the 40,000 more that will probably be flogged in 2010, based on Sudanese court records of 40,000 floggings in 2008.

Nesrine Malik wrote about the flogging for The Guardian today: Sudan’s public order laws are about control, not morality.

After being pulled down repeatedly on YouTube, with complaints coming fast and furious from the believers in flogging episodes like this one, the video is now alive on AOC. It is also on CNN and Al Jazeera, says my friend, although I can’t find it in the international editions.

 

Wednesday
Apr172013

GOP Ices Sanford Campaign | Judge Keeps Jackson Abortion Clinic Open | Teen Sex Primarily Uses Contraception

1. GOP ices Sanford Campaign. The House GOP’s campaign committee announced Wednesday that it will no longer have any involvement in the comeback bid for Congress from former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

The decision comes after yesterday’s news that Jenny Sanford, the former governor’s ex-wife, has accused him of trespassing at her home more than once and in violation of their divorce settlement. The couple is due in court two days after a special House election on May 7 between Sanford and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Busch is a businesswoman and older sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who is helping her campaign.

The couple divorced in 2010 after Mark Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. The then governor disappeared for days, leaving his wife, staff and voters clueless as to his whereabouts. Sanford is now engaged to Maria Belen Chapur. Jenny Sanford has custody of the couple four sons.

“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP this week about her ex-husband’s race. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children, I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

2. Judge keeps Jackson abortion clinic open. The Jackson Free Press reports that a celebratory mood turned quickly to panic yesterday at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization “when a young bearded man wearing a military-style waist pack entered the abortion clinic unescorted and without an appointment.” After putting his hands in the air, proclaiming that he was unarmed, a police officer escorted him out of the clinic.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III halted a process that seemed likely to close JWHO, making Mississippi the first state without an abortion clinic. Jordan ruled that the state cannot close the clinic before the conclusion of a pending federal lawsuit over a 2012 state law requiring all abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital.

The Republican-appointed judge Jordan said that Mississippi was attempting to create a patchwork of law in which constitutional women’s rights apply in some states and not others. JWHO is owned by Diane Derzis, who finds herself engaged in a similar lawsuit in the state of Alabama.

Leslie Hanks, a pro-life demonstrator from Colorado, says she recently helped put Personhood on the ballot for the fourth time in Mississippi.

3. CA Gay Conversion Ban in Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is hearing arguments for and against a new California law banning gay ‘conversion therapy’ for minors. The new law which is the first of its kind in America, bars licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of people under the age of 18.

A small group of therapists — frequently conservative Christians — challenge scientists, arguing that reparative therapy intervenes where gender confusion is caused by childhood trauma, resulting in reshaping one’s sexual orientation.

Large numbers of gay men say they suffered deep harm over reparative counseling that left them guilt-ridden and anguished.

The lawsuits to be argued on Wednesday were brought by two conservative legal groups, the Pacific Justice Institute, based in Sacramento, and Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University in Virginia, reports the New York Times.

The state of California’s brief argues that the law “prohibits licensed mental health professionals from treating children and teenagers with a discredited, ineffective, and unsafe therapy in a misguided effort to change their sexual orientation.” 

Similar bills have been introduced in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

4. Women = ‘vaginas’. New Hampshire state rep Peter Hansen is under severe criticism after referring to women as ‘vaginas’in an email sent on New Hampshire House internal email. Hansen was arguing with Republican Rep Steve Vaillancourt, who defended retreating from violence, rather than confronting the force with force. Hansen said that his colleague hadn’t considered the case of women and children. Choosing not to use those words, Hansen initially wrote:

‘What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s [sic] of course,’ he wrote. 

The comments were imemdiately picked up by Democrat State Rep Rick Walrous, who wrote: ‘Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really? he wrote.

‘Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve.’

Local political blogger Susan the Bruce reported the exchange adding ‘That the representative chose to describe women as ‘vagina’s’ is certainly an affront to half the population. That he failed to properly pluralize the word adds insult to idiocy.’

View chart larger.

5. Teen Sex Survey. “Policymakers and the media often sensationalize teen sexual behavior, suggesting that adolescents as young as 10 or 11 are increasingly sexually active,” writes lead author Lawrence Finer, about his new study of sexual activity in America’s youngest adolescents. “But the data just don’t support that concern. Rather, we are seeing teens waiting longer to have sex, using contraceptives more frequently when they start having sex, and being less likely to become pregnant than their peers of past decades.”

Among adolescents were did report having sex said that it was coerced. Sixty-two percent of females who had sex by age 10 said it was coerced, as did 50% of those who experienced sex by age 11.

Contraceptive use is common among teens, according to the study, with use among girls as young as 15 similar to that of older teens. More than 80% of 16-year-olds used a method at first sex. A year after having first sex, 95% of those teens had used contraceptives. via Guttmacher Institute

Related: 2008 State-Level Teen Pregnancy Data Now Available. (Yes, 5 yrs. later)

Monday
Apr152013

Vatican Confirms That Reform of American Nuns Will Proceed Under Archbishop Gerhard Mueller

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Was I prescient today? Hardly. It’s just that Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz says that fashion designers are a little like Catholic nuns, grinding away in the trenches and not leading glamorous lives. Elbaz seems pretty off the mark, but we so love him that he’s forgiven. 

That quote led me to circle back with an exceptional interview given by Sister Simone Campbell to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour after the ordination of Pope Francis. 

Sister Simone’s interview was followed by this one on 60 Minutes with Sister Pat Farrell, previous head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Bob Simon.

The headlines are working their way around the world with news that Pope Francis has spoken. The Inquisition of American nuns will continue. This news doesn’t come as a surprise, although it dashes the hope of American nuns like Sister Simone and Sister Pat Farrell, who will be forced now to speak aggressively against birth control, abortion and women priests in the future. 

AOC writing on crackdown of American nuns.

Vatican Crackdown Continues

Pope Francis has affirmed that the investigation of American nuns will continue, dimming the hopes of American nuns that a Jesuit pope with shared values on the poor might take a different approach than Pope Benedict. 

The Vatican imposed an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after deciding that the American nuns were taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality. The sisters were accused of embracing “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

While praising the nuns’ humanitarian work, investigators accused the of ignoring critical social issues.

Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who is in charge of implementing the crackdown on American nuns, met today — Monday — with officials of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, informing them that the reorganization and reforms will be implemented. 

Catholic Culture reports: In his remarks at the meeting, Archbishop Müller reminded the LCWR leaders that their group exists to promote cooperation among the individual orders and with the hierarchy. “For this reason,” he said, groups like the LCWR “are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”

All bets are off in what the sisters will do next. They have vowed not to compromise their group’s mission. Exactly what that mission is remains to be seen. 

History of Vatican Conflict

August 11, 2012

Barbara Marx Hubbard was the featured speaker at this week’s Missouri meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The main focus of the meeting was drafting a response to the Vatican’s claims that American nuns are “radical feminists” out of step with the church’s teaching. Of course, the members of LCWR don’t see themselves in this light.

June 11, 2012

Both sides in the discord between American nuns and the Vatican described yesterday’s talks in Rome as open and cordial. But the Vatican wasted no time in reiterating that it expects the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to change its way to energetically promote church doctrine “as Faithfully taught through the ages”, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Vatican charges that the LCWR has been “silent” on those issues that are most important to the church leadership: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

April 20, 2012

The sisters were reprimanded for making public policy statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” The disagreements have been acute over President Obama’s healthcare legislation and most recently the contraception mandate compromise.

January 23, 2012

Investigation of American Nuns

It’s noteworthy that on Jan. 4, Cardinal Franc Rode resigned as head of the Vatican’s ‘cabinet office’, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, that deals with religious orders, including nuns worldwide. 

Writing for Huffington PostAmerican nun Maureen Fiedler says that Cardinal Franc Rode is an arch-conservative with an archaic view of religious life that resonates with the 18th century, rather than the 21st.