“Feminism gives equal opportunity to all. So, we need feminism and we need to keep making more noise to stand up for an equal world."– Writer Paromita Bardoloi
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
California Outlaws Gendered Pricing
Unnecessarily gendered items (like men’s toothpaste) seem silly but are often discriminatory – with brands charging women more for razors, soap and other products that merely have different packaging. Now, thanks to Senator Ben Hueso, California has approved a bill that challenges the empirically-quantified yet somehow oft-debated “pink tax”, a term coined to describe the practice of charging more for the “female” version of a product used by both genders. Since women make less money than men yet are responsible for the bulk of consumer purchases, this bill is a great step towards ending gendered financial inequality.
And to celebrate, Walgreens has changed its name to WalPink.
Pakistan’s Islamic Council Encourages 'Light' Wife Beating
Pakistan’s Islamic Council has released recommendations for how husbands should treat their wives – based on some, shall we say, “personal” interpretations of Koranic and Sharia law. Among many heinous actions, they encourage men to "lightly" beat unruly wives who do things like deny sex, do not bathe after sex or periods, refuse to dress the way their husbands see fit, speak to strangers, and generally fail to be subservient objects. The recommendations are a response to the rejected Punjab Women Protection bill – which sought to protect abused women.
Worst marriage counseling group ever.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Abigail Fisher has spent seven years purporting that affirmative action was the only reason she wasn’t accepted into UT-Austin. (Ahem, maybe if she’d spent as much time on her less-than-stellar grades and test scores, she would’ve gotten in.) Like Fisher, the majority of plaintiffs in affirmative action cases are White women, but – in an ironic twist – those are precisely the applicants who benefit the most from affirmative action policies. Many universities refused to admit White women until the policies were enacted, and now over 6 million women have jobs they would not have had otherwise. Meanwhile, White men are admitted at far higher rates with lower test scores than all groups, and studies have shown that universities are three times as likely to admit a White applicant over an Asian applicant with the same record. Universities have also been historically White for centuries, and elite schools' legacy policies put minorities at a high disadvantage. So what's up with the cognitive dissociation? Amherst Professor Jesse Rhodes and Sean McElwee suggest that young White Americans believe in a post-racial society full ofopportunity for all, and thus they don’t see the point in affirmative action. (Hello, definition of white privilege.)
Unsurprisingly, men are the most active contributors to online forums, and, even more unsurprisingly, those men are using forums to voice their negative opinions on female-centric media. Noticing a trend in low IMDb ratings for generally acclaimed woman-oriented television series, Walt Hickey found that men are indeed the reason iconic shows such as “Sex and the City” are touting meager scores of around 7.0 on a scale of 1-10. As it turns out, men make up about 70% of show raters on IMDb, and although men and women tend to rate male-centric shows about the same (women average 8.0 and men 8.2), there is a stark drop off in how they rate female-targeted shows (women: 7.8, men: 6.9). “Sex and the City”, for example, received an average score of 8.1 from women and 5.8 from men. I don’t think Carrie, Samantha, Miranda OR Charlotte would be ok with that.
WHAT WE'RE READING
There’s a distinct trend in popular culture these days, and the title of “feminist” no longer carries the sting and stigma it did in days past. We all love that feminism is gaining mainstream popularity, but Andi Zeisler (co-founder and creative director of Bitch Media) wants us to remember our roots when it comes to our feminist activism. In her new book “We Were Feminists Once”, Zeisler confronts the depolarization and commodification of mainstream feminism. She argues against the “privatization” of feminism, reminding us that our activism must be about structural change in society and not just acceptance of personal freedoms on an individual level. Jennifer Senior of the New York Times criticizes that the book ironically devotes more space to the topic of pubic waxing than issues such as wage inequality (but notes that a book on those less-glamorous subjects surely wouldn’t appeal as much to the mainstream). Overall, Senior deems “We Were Feminists Once” a witty, insightful piece that blends pop-culture and academic feminism, making it a great addition to any Feminista’s library.