WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
#UnfairAndLovely Combats Skin Color Shaming
Finally, we have some good news from Texas! Pax Jones, a University of Texas student, has spearheaded a social media campaign that’s gone global. Jones posted a photo featuring two South Asian sisters with the hashtag #UnfairAndLovely, in reference to a skin whitening cream called Fair & Lovely. (For anyone questioning the ongoing legacy of colonialism, when was the last time you felt compelled to cover your body with hydroquinone and mercury?) Jones told The Huffington Post, “#UnfairAndLovely is meant to be an inclusive space. It is for the dark-skinned queer, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, poor, fat, differently abled people of color.” People all over the globe are now posting their pictures and statuses with the hashtag. The campaign has even teamed up with the #ReclaimTheBindi campaign, which aims to spark discourse on cultural appropriation and the bindi.
We’re looking at you, Selena Gomez.
Pervy Dean Won’t be Fired for Sexual Assault
What kind of law did Sujt Choudhry—UC Berkeley’s School of Law Dean—study? The legality of how to grope colleagues without getting fired? Indeed, Choudhry has resigned from his position after a sexual harassment suit reminiscent of the gropey scene in Legally Blonde. Though Choudhry was placed on leave before the resignation (that lasted one day), the university docked merely 10% pay downgrade and a faculty position. What an appropriate punishment for “hugging, kissing, massaging or caressing [his assistant] at least multiple times per week,” in his words. While law school alumni called for Choudhry’s termination, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele released a statement with about as much punch as a sloth. The statement makes Choudhry sound like an bumbling, innocent old man who is completely unclear on whether kissing an employee is appropriate. If this is how the university handles issues of harassment, we have real doubts about its law school program, sexual harassment aside.
At UC Berkeley, Justice is most definitely blind.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Saudi women’s recent hard-fought gains are already in danger of being reversed under a new regime. Yet while King Salman stalls his predecessor King Abdullah’s reforms on women’s rights, his son Muhammad hopes to bring women into the workplace. Unfortunately, Muhammad is hesitant to confront the oppressive clergy, which ultimately controls most state matters. Such a confluence of factors has made for a push-and-pull between conservatism and reform in the state. In good news, if a recent ruling is upheld on appeal, guardians will no longer have control over their wards’ work, travel, study, and bank accounts. (Coverture can go back where it belongs, in 17th-century England.) Women in Saudi Arabia now have the freedom to study abroad, vote in local council elections, and dress as they please in an increasing number of gated communities and private beaches. Yet only 18% of working-age women are actually employed, and those that work face strong reservations about women’s independence and gender integration. Sure, women can have a seat at the table, but God forbid they travel in the same car as men to get there.
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
Living in a red state? Time to watch a show that’ll transport you to a place where liberal values are normative...the mysterious land of Oregon. Portlandia has just three episodes to go this season, and we’re psyched to see what feminist antics characters Toni and Candace—played by creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein—get into. The show is set in a Portland, where police motorcycles are pink and catcalls are followed by apologies; Toni and Candace run a feminist bookstore rife with contradictions and good intentions gone awry. In the episode “First Feminist City,” people from all over the globe travel to their store to buy $500 vagina pillows. Instead of feeling validated for their feminism and work, Toni and Candace subsequently fear they’ve become sellouts to superficiality and capitalism. (What is a vagina pillow you ask? We also wondered, so here you go.) Can’t get enough of their store? Check out its real-life inspiration, feminist bookstore and community center In Other Words.