Archives for category: The Week As We Read It

We’re bringing you our recommended reading list a day early this week because we’re taking tomorrow off in preparation for some big changes. As of Monday, Canonball will reside at a new URL (just visit this blog to be redirected there), completely redesigned for ease of use and etc. Until then, here’s an extra-long Week As We Read It to get you through your Canonball long weekend.

In Which Tina Fey Engages With Pee Jars and Breast Milk by Dayna Evans, This Recording. On Fey’s newly-released book, Bossypants:

It is bothersome, however, that Fey chooses to consistently devalue her intellect, appearance, and work. It becomes a tired act less than halfway through the book. Though Fey is consistently praised for being both winsome and accessible while remaining sharp and in charge, she rarely acknowledges the latter qualities in Bossypants, and it is positively infuriating. Why can’t Fey take a moment off from the homely girl routine and write with pride about her numerous accomplishments?

When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? by Jeanne Maglaty, Smithsonian. Historian Jo B. Paoletti on the origins of the pink-blue divide:

For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality — you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached — became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted,’ ” Paoletti says.

On Ashley Judd and the Politics of Citation by moyazb, Crunk Feminist Collective. Actress Judd recently called rap music the “contemporary soundtrack of misogyny” – a lot of people agreed but failed to acknowledge the black women who made the same point before Judd:

If we can all turn to the Ten Crunk Commandments for Re-Invigorating Hip Hop Feminist Studies, we’ll see that the first commandment reminds us to “know and cite” authors who have shaped the field of hip-hop feminism. This commandment doesn’t just apply to Judd but also to some of her defenders. If you are going to defend her position, can you cite the black women who have actually done work on the issue in scholarship, film, and action? The “she has a point” camp feels dismissive of decades of resistance and carefully crafted projects by hip-hop feminists and activists.

Trans-Formative Change by Meaghan Winter, Guernica. Winter speaks with Dean Spade, “America’s first openly transgender law professor”:

The average life span of a transgender person is twenty-three years. The statistic is shocking, until it begins to make sense. Gender non-conformists face routine exclusion and violence. Transgender people are disproportionately poor, homeless, and incarcerated. Many of the systems and facilities intended to help low-income people are sex-segregated and thereby alienate those who don’t comply with state-imposed categories. A trans woman may not be able to secure a bed in a homeless shelter, for example. Spade writes that just as the feminist movement tended to “focus on gender-universalized white women’s experience as ‘women’s experience,’” the lesbian- and gay-rights movement has focused primarily on a white, middle-class politic, centered on marriage and mainstream social mores.

Another Equal Pay Day? Really? by Marlo Thomas, Huffington Post. The actress and activist reflects on America’s gender-based wage gap:

I still have my little green button from 1970 – with “59¢” emblazoned on it – tacked to my bulletin board. I remember how we all wore that button on our t-shirts as we marched to protest the gender pay disparity of that time. Now we’re at 77 cents. Forty years and 18 cents. A dozen eggs has gone up 10 times that amount.

Women and the public space: Part 1 (Part 2 is here) by Mehrunisa Qayyum and Ramah Kudaimi, Altmuslimah. On making the mosque a space for women, as well as men:

There continues to persist the notion that a woman’s responsibilities and influence should remain confined to the privacy of her home, while a man’s rightful place is in the public sphere. If a woman does venture into a public space, she must defer ultimate decision making power to a man. Although one might shrug off this idea as a relic of the past that no longer applies to the educated, professional Muslim American women we see in 2011, when it comes to issues of religion, “the mosque is for men” mindset still prevails. Thus women’s prayer spaces are tucked away in basements or behind barriers, women are only put in charge of sisters’ and children’s programming, and female prayer goers are expected to dress a modest and somewhat formal way, while men can show up in their pajamas.

Sharing a story: Opening our worlds to the gift by Tami Winfrey Harris, Love Isn’t Enough. A roundtable of female writers discuss the need for diversity in children’s books. Mitali Perkins notes:

As a kid who is “non-white” or a “person of color,” you spend a lot of energy becoming fluent in the majority culture of North America. A book featuring someone who is of your culture feels like a haven. It’s downright empowering to be represented in literature — and now we’re back where we started: to power, which is what words, books, and stories can either take away or endow.

Life Among the One Percent by s.e. smith, Tiger Beatdown. On asexuality: what it is and what it isn’t:

Some asexual people orient themselves along a spectrum of romanticism and aromanticism, describing the natural of the attractions they feel; being asexual doesn’t mean you are not attracted to people, only that you do not experience sexual attraction. Nor does it mean that the nature of those attractions is inherently weaker because sex is not involved.

Elsewhere on the internet: Amy Poehler lived up to her role model status. The Hairpin introduced us to our new favorite comic. Ann Friedman called for an end to “new kings of” whatever. Female authors made an impressive showing on last year’s most challenged library book list. And we took a gin-soaked tour of the home of the late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. See you at our new (gin-soaked?) home next week, Canoneers!

Amelia Long lives in Austin, Texas. She is a volunteer coordinator by day and a volunteer with her local abortion fund by night.

We’re 30 days into the nationwide 40 Days for Life protest, which means abortion clinic workers still have 10 more days of protesters praying on their sidewalks and offering clients “sidewalk counseling” as they approach clinic buildings.

Meanwhile, the awesome CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) conference is going on this weekend at Hampshire College – and being liveblogged at Feministing and Amplify.  CLPP is a national organization for repro rights and repro justice movement-building.

Abortion rights, at the state level, continue to face legislative death-by-a-thousand-cuts:

  • In Iowa, Ohio, AlabamaIdahoOklahoma, Missouri and probably even more states, lawmakers moved forward with bills banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on claims that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development. Nebraska and North Carolina already ban abortions after 20 weeks, while 36 other states ban abortions after 24 weeks.
  • Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Louisiana are trying to ban insurance plans covering abortion from inclusion in the state’s health exchange. End result: people in those states whose insurance is not covered by an employer would continue to pay for abortions out of their own pockets.  (For more on the issue, see Katherine Greenier’s article “Why Insurance Coverage for Abortion Matters” from RH Reality Check this week.)
  • But… Montana’s Democratic governor vetoed such a proposition, saying it violated the state’s constitution.
  • Last week, Arizona passed a law that not only made race- and sex-selective abortion a felony but also “allows the father of an aborted fetus – or, if the mother is a minor, the mother’s parents – to take legal action against the doctor or other health-care provider who performed the abortion.”
  • Arizona also now requires doctors to perform all abortions (surgical and medical) by defining the administration of abortion pills as “surgery.”  The bill also outlaws telemedicine in the case of abortion.

On the bright side of things, the racist anti-abortion billboard I petitioned against in Austin got taken down (coverage via How to Have Sex in Texas).  In its place is the “Pregnant? Scared?” campaign that was up there before.  I’m not really counting this as a victory, especially since the replacement billboard, as an advertisement for a crisis pregnancy center (a.k.a. fake abortion clinic) is still racist.  (See Akiba Solomon’s “Crisis Pregnancy Centers: One More Weapon Against Women of Color” last week on Colorlines.)

A new racist anti-African-American-abortion billboard in Chicago featured President Obama’s image and drew a rapid activist response.

I’ll leave you with some good listening for your weekend:  audio from a reproductive justice bloggers panel in New York (via Feministing).

This week in Mindblowingly Regressive Attacks on Your Reproductive Rights, South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard passed a statewide law mandating a veritable legislative obstacle course for any woman seeking an abortion. Women in the state will now be subjected to a three-day waiting period before they’re able to get an abortion — and they must also visit a crisis pregnancy center (which, by the way, are privately regulated facilities and thus under no legal obligation to keep your medical information confidential) and listen to a lecture about why abortion is evil. Really. Suddenly that old South Dakotan law that bars you from falling asleep in a cheese factory sounds relatively rational. Amanda Marcotte explains why this law is more than an attack on reproductive rights, but on individual privacy at large:

Republican state senator Al Novstrup claimed the bill is somehow protective of women, offering them a “second opinion,” which indicates not just his disrespect for religious freedom but his profound ignorance of options counseling typical to abortion clinics, especially Planned Parenthood, which runs the sole abortion clinic in the state. I don’t imagine he’d see it that way if the state required citizens to hear a “second opinion” about other private decisions based on personal religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Would Novstrup enjoy having to listen to a lecture from an atheist or Muslim group before joining a church, getting married or making plans for his own funeral? Why then is it appropriate to force women to listen to religious lectures before making a decision that involves their own religious beliefs about life?

In The New York Times, Kate Zernike reported good news and bad news for female professors at M.I.T. and beyond. The good? There are more of them, they’re ascending to more prestigious positions in greater numbers, and they’re winning more awards. But, says M.I.T. associate dean Hazel S. Sive, “Because things are so much better now, we can see an entirely new set of issues.” The situation described at many top universities speaks to the residual and harder-to-define effects of institutional sexism that linger long after equality has, ostenisbly, been “achieved.” Zernike notes:

[W]ith the emphasis on eliminating bias, women now say the assumption when they win important prizes or positions is that they did so because of their gender. Professors say that female undergraduates ask them how to answer male classmates who tell them they got into M.I.T. only because of affirmative action.

Finally, Akoto Ofori-Atta asked an important question in a must-read piece at The Root: “Is Hip-Hop Feminism Alive in 2011?” Ofori-Atta revisits the ideology of hip-hop feminism that writer Joan Morgan coined over a decade ago in her exquisitely titled book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. Hip-hop feminists have always had to grapple with a rather difficult question: “How do women actively participate in a culture that seems to hate them so vehemently?” There are no easy answers, but Morgan has found that ambiguity both challenging and freeing:

The manifestoes of black feminism, while they helped me to understand the importance of articulating the language to combat oppression, didn’t give me the language to explore things that were not black and white, but things that were in the gray. And that gray is very much represented in hip-hop.

This weekend we’ll be returning to our beloved alma matter to attend the Visions in Feminism Conference. Let us know if you’ll be there too! We’ll report back next week with what we’ve learned.

The New York Times reported on new campaigns in India that are pushing for more restrooms – both public and private – for women. Reporter Nilanjana S. Roy explained that women who live in slums without proper toilets are more susceptible to reproductive tract infections and are at greater risk of rape, due to the great distances they have to walk to find a toilet. For many women, this shortage prevents them from working, and therefore making money. Just how many toilets are there?

In a 2009 study, the Center for Civil Society, a nonprofit organization, estimated that the capital had only 132 public toilets for women, many of them barely functioning, compared with 1,534 for men. The effect of this, in Delhi and across urban India, is to severely limit the mobility of women and their ability to work efficiently.

In response to the blogosphere’s response to a viral video of a white student complaining about the presence of Asian students in her university library, Tami of What Tami Said, urged us to reconsider our word choice. That is, the Internet was collectively “shocked” by the video, but, as Tami noted, anyone who’s paying attention knows there’s nothing shocking or unusual about racism:

“Shocking” may simply be a benign word choice – an editorial decision designed to spice up a headline. I use a fair amount of hyperbole here. I understand. But it’s not just in the media that I hear about the “shocking” nature of racism. I hear it from regular folk, too. A friend (a white woman) who did some Democratic political canvassing here in our red state was genuinely taken aback at the level of naked racism she encountered. I wasn’t and I told her so.

Chloe Angyal of Feministing is embarking on a personal project that we here at Canonball can really get behind: she’s rereading the Anne of Green Gables series as an adult. She characterized the undying appeal of Anne:

Like my other favorite fictional heroines – Lizzie Bennet, Ginny, Hermione, and Jo March from Little Women – Anne is smart, kind and observant. Like those other women, she has a vision of the kind of woman she wants to be, but she doesn’t always live up to that ideal. Her vanity and pride get in the way sometimes. Like them, she is torn between the desire to fit in – to be pretty and ladylike and coupled – and the desire to defy convention. Like them, she is capable of deep, profound love, not just for the man she eventually marries, but for her friends, her family, and for the pursuit of knowledge.

Shakesville republished a classic post as part of its Helpful Hints for Dudes series. (You should also check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 – great reads for dudes and non-dudes, newbies and feminists looking for some succinct inspiration.) On playing devil’s advocate:

There are the occasions that men — intellectual men, clever men, engaged men — insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun — and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.

A Danish study recently found that, when male CEOs have daughters, they’re more likely to close the gender pay gap within in their companies – eliminating up to 13 percent of Denmark’s 21.5 percent gap for their female employees. As Feministing noted, the logic behind these findings is simple:

It appears that these men are having female children, and realizing that the world in which they will become women is one that treats women worse than it treats men. And because as CEOs, they have the power to do something about that, they do.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported on a proposed Federal Reserve rule that could prevent stay-at-home parents (the majority of whom are women) and other people without their own income from getting cards unless their spouse co-signs the application. The rule is meant to prevent credit card companies from preying on college students, but, as the story notes:

Some Fed critics say the proposal makes the central bank look like it is stuck in the 1950s, when women needed their husbands’ signatures even to open bank accounts. “Women have worked hard over the course of my lifetime to establish financial independence,” says Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), one of the authors of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act. “If a stay-at-home mom, who’s often the one who controls the family finances, cannot easily obtain a credit card in her own name, then that would be a step backward.”

At Racialicious, Latoya Peterson wrote a must-read piece on the feminist blogosphere’s race problems. Peterson discusses being the token woman of color on feminist panels, the politics of getting a book deal, and how people don’t always take her expertise seriously:

It’s the invisibility that burns. Amazing writing from all kinds of people is only a search box  away – yet, since we are not filed under “listen to,” we are ignored. And we are ignored in favor of people who will admit to not being experts on the topic or not having certain types of experiences.  This is when we start moving into erasure territory.  It isn’t that we are not out there, putting work into the public consciousness.  It’s that our words don’t count until they fall from the lips of a white girl.

With a new film version of Jane Eyre set to open in select cities today (some of us are excited), Slate set to work on the very important task of rating which adaption of the classic book has the creepiest Mr. Rochester portrayal. This is probably why the Internet exists, no? But, as Jezebel’s Sadie Stein noted, Jane Eyre‘s staying power can be attributed to more than a creepy, brooding lover:

So what is it that’s so eternally intriguing? Is it just the skewed Cinderella story? That may be part of it, but I like to think it has more to do with the story’s arc. At the end of this novel, more than almost any romance I can think of, the agency is [Jane’s]. It is she who has the money, the power, the good health. It is her choice — after a lifetime of powerlessness — to marry him. That famous line “Reader, I married him” has a lot of agency in it.

Finally, in honor of International Women’s Day, The Guardian created its list of the Top 100 Women. The writing and academia category included profiles on some of Canonball’s favorite lady authors, like Marjane Satrapi, Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing – who we’ll still claim as a feminist, even if she won’t admit it herself.

This week, Ann Friedman reported for The Atlantic on Women in America, a new White House report that aggregated statistics on women and girls from across federal agencies. In spite of the progress that women have made over the past few decades, Friedman wondered how the administration could possibly address all the problems they still face:

Does it matter that more women are getting educated if they still aren’t making money on par with their male colleagues in the workforce? Does it matter that women are delaying childbirth if they still overwhelmingly end up as primary caregivers? Does it matter if women live longer if, over the course of their lives, they suffer from more mental and physical health problems?

Musician Amy Klein, of Titan Andronicus, reflected on her upcoming 26th birthday, noting that getting older is a different experience for men and women. For women, Klein notes, the mid-20s may already be “too old”:

Looking at the culture in which we grow up, it is no surprise to me that women feel they are already too old to begin a new hobby, a new desire, a new career, or a new goal when they have barely begun to live. The hyper-acceleration of a woman’s sense of time is a product of the following forces: 1) The principle that woman’s value lies primarily in her beauty and body, also known as the commodification of young women, 2) The fact that older women largely become invisible as producers of and participants in all that is “smart,” “funny” or “cool,” 3) The idea that a woman must settle down and have children before her biological clock “stops ticking,” and 4) The notion that a woman’s true fulfillment in life can only be attained through marriage and raising children, 5) The impulse that tells us that all of our life goals should give way to the ultimate truth of principle number four.

At Womanist Musings, a guest contributor discussed the necessity of gay-only spaces, addressing questions like, “Why are there gay bars and no straight bars?”:

The world is a straight space. 99.999999% of the world is a straight space – not only a straight space, but an aggressively straight space, that fiercely resists being anything but straightness […]

Maybe we wouldn’t need our safe spaces, if the world wasn’t so aggressively, overwhelming straight. Maybe if the world wasn’t so hostile to us, maybe if the world were happier with us being in straight space, rather than grudgingly tolerant at best. Maybe we wouldn’t need “gay-friendly” establishments, if gay-hostile wasn’t the damn norm.

Miriam Zoila Pérez took an in-depth look at the anti-abortion billboards that equate abortion with black genocide. In her piece for Colorlines, Pérez noted that black women have historically supported and rallied for access to birth control and discusses the reasons why, in spite of this, black women are more likely than other women to get an abortion. She spoke with author Dorothy Roberts, who responds to the infamous billboard in Lower Manhattan that reads, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is the womb.”:

“Black women’s wombs are not the main enemy of black children,” says Roberts, who says they promote “toxic stereotypes” about black mothers’ irresponsibility. “Racism and sexism and poverty are the main enemy of black children. [The billboard] doesn’t highlight the issues behind why women are having so many abortions, it just blames them for doing it.”

Finally: another great piece (dare we say, manifesto?) from Molly Lambert on This Recording. This time, Lambert covered everything from Taylor Swift to slut-shaming to what it means to be genuinely radically:

So many liberal dudes consider themselves political revolutionaries but then ignore or devalue gender politics as less important than other causes. Or they talk a good game about gender politics but then do the complete opposite in their personal lives. There was a great Mad Men episode touching on this. You think subcultures are going to have better more equal power dynamics, but then they usually reproduce the same fucked up power dynamics of mainstream institutions. It happened in the civil rights movement. It happened with hippies. It happens in indie and punk. It happens in everything when men are the only ones in recognized leadership positions.

File under One of The Best Things We’ve Read on the Internet, Molly Lambert’s manifesto, “In Which We Teach You How to Be a Woman in Any Boys’ Club” from This Recording. Lambert’s insights — including the imperative that cool girls stop competing with each other for boys’ attention and start being the cool girl best friends we all dream about — include the advice, “Drive it like you stole it”:

Be the best. That is, assuming that you are the best. Be the best you can possibly be, whatever that means to you. Absolutely do not step down in order to not threaten people. Don’t apologize. If you genuinely fucked up fine, you are allowed to apologize once but then stop apologizing. Think about how much you hear women apologizing for themselves for no reason, or being self-deprecating or self-abnegating out of habit. What the fuck are you apologizing for? For being too good?

And thoughts on the lowered expectations women often encounter from men:

When men demonstrate or betray surprise that you know a lot about something or have mastered a skill that they care about, it unfortunately just shows that some guys still don’t expect women to care about anything. Except being pretty and shopping and having thoughts that are somehow completely unlike male thoughts in any way. They think we don’t like dumb obsessive information hoarding. They think our brains are wired differently. They are wrong. Sasha Baron-Cohen’s brother is wrong (man u so fucking wrong Simon).

The flip side of exceptionalism for anyone from an oppressed group is the realization that you are only considered exceptional because the system is sooooooo fuckkkkkked uppppppppp. The idea that it’s fair and you just worked your way in because you’re so hyper-talented is a useful seeming illusion that stops benefiting you the moment it fucks over somebody else. When men are like “wow you’re so cool, you’re not like most girls” it always begs the question oh my god what do you think girls are like?

At Salon, Aaron Traister (brother of Rebecca, the author of one of our past book club selections) wrote about how abortion impacted his life and why other men need to speak up:

But mostly, I don’t understand how these issues are still simply referred to as “women’s issues.” The destinies of men and women are intertwined by sex, and pregnancy, and childbirth. It is time for more men to sack up and start taking responsibility for their end of the conversation.

Speaking of! Remember how the South Dakota legislature introduced and then shelved a bill that could have protected the killing of abortion providers as “justifiable homicide” in defense of a fetus? Well, we can’t celebrate just yet: the Nebraska legislature has introduced a similar bill that could potentially protect anyone — not just the pregnant woman or her family — who commits “justifiable homicide.” Mother Jones reported that this bill could put abortion providers at major risk from anti-abortion vigilantes:

Abortion providers are frequent targets of violent attacks. Eight doctors have been murdered by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, and another 17 have been victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes, including Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita, Kansas, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, have attempted to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials.

Al Jazeera English made room for some of the women of Cairo to tell their stories of the Egyptian uprising. Mona Seif, a 24-year-old researcher, explained that taking part in the protests has made her more confident and less afraid to speak out:

I know that Egypt has changed and we will transfer the spirit of the square to the rest of the country. Before Tahrir if I was [harassed] I would refrain from asking people for help, because there are a lot of people that would disappoint you by blaming you. But I think the spirit of the revolution has empowered us to spread the feeling we established wider and wider. From now on, if anything happens to me, I am going to scream, I am going to ask people to help me and I know that I will find people that will help me.

Meanwhile, Bill Maher tried to argue that sexism in America isn’t as problematic as sexism in the Middle East by demonizing Muslim men and downplaying the concerns of American women. Everyone loses! You can check out the video, transcript and some nice analysis at Womanist Musings. In this excerpt, Tavis Smiley calls out Maher:

Bill Maher: I mean in this country we treat women badly because
Tavis Smiley: Because we’re sexist and patriarchal
Bill Maher: They don’t equal pay, or someone calls you sugar tits or something like that. In those countries
Tavis Smiley: But you think that’s okay though
Bill Maher: I don’t but I don’t think it’s comparable to cutting their heads off, not letting them drive, not letting them work. I mean
Tavis Smiley: And all I’m saying is that you missed the point. If all you want to do is compare, you win that argument.
Bill Maher: Oh okay then.
Tavis Smiley: But my point is that it’s not about comparing, either right or wrong how we treat people and I think that it’s wrong there, and wrong here.
Bill Maher: It’s more wrong there. Degree matters, degree matters.
Tavis Smiley: Malcolm X said, “If you put a knife in my back and you pull it out six inches you call that progress. I’ve still got a knife in my back.” I don’t necessarily agree that degree always matters Bill.
Bill Maher: Really?
Tavis Smiley: yeah
Bill Maher: What would you rather do, make eighty cents on the dollar, or have your head cut off?
Tavis Smiley: I would rather us stop acting like we know the answers to everything, that we’re always right, that our way is always better, that we don’t make mistakes. That’s what I’d like.

It was reported this week that CBS correspondent Lara Logan “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” while in Egypt. Undeniably troubling news, but we must keep two things in mind. First, let’s hope (perhaps naively) that American media can resist sensationalism and avoid blowing this one incident into reports of how Tahrir Square was a place of unequivocal danger for women. Canonball contributor Annie Gardner recounted last week that the demonstrations in Tahrir were one of the only times in Cairo that she didn’t feel the threat of harassment constantly looming. As we’ve discussed here before, sexual harassment/assault in Egypt is a complex issue, so let’s hope that the high-profile nature of this incident doesn’t lead to a lot of unfounded generalizations.

And secondly — while we’re talking naive hopes and dreams — in the face of public talk about sexual assault, can we all for once just try really hard to avoid saying stupid, insensitive, privilege-blind things? No, Nir Rosen? We can’t? Yeah, guess we were asking too much. While Rosen’s apology ranked above average on the “Sorry I Said Something Dumb and Sexist on teh Twitter” Scale, the whole thing was frustratingly telling of the fact that even a lot of “noted intellectuals” have no idea how to conduct a civilized conversation about sexual assault. It’s awful that this happened to Logan, but now that it has, let’s please turn it into a thoughtful discussion rather than a bunch of Twitter one-liners about Anderson Cooper.

This week we also learned a lot about the differences between men and women. In fact, the differences are so great that boys and girls apparently can’t even read the same poetry. Also, BREAKING: cats are girly and dudes think you’re uncool for liking them. Or can a man’s man with an affinity for felines change your mind? Everything’s cooler when men like it!

Oh, but getting back to truly awful news (welcome to feminism LOL), the House will soon vote on a bill that could take away federal funding from Planned Parenthood or any organization that performs abortions. As Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards explained on Democracy Now, less than 10 percent of the organization’s funds go towards abortions, meaning that this bill could potentially eliminate things like cancer screenings and regular check-ups for women who can’t afford to see another doctor.

Finally, our thoughts are still with the peaceful and impassioned demonstrators in North Africa and the Middle East who are demanding democratic process and humane living conditions. Karima Bennoune reported from Algiers, anticipating the upcoming protests:

[…] this Saturday, when I watch the bloggers and the feminists and the unemployed try to march for a new Algeria, I will think of what Samir Larabi told me: “We need democracy to fight exploitation. Bread and liberty are not alternatives.”

Have a safe and fun weekend, all. Take advantage of those President’s Day mattress sales. Oh, and for a steady stream of online reading recommendations, be sure to follow Canonball on Twitter.