Feminist News Roundup

Photo via heartifb.com

Photo via heartifb.com

  • Olivia Messer of the Texas Observer has written a shocking expository piece on sexism in the Texas capitol building, including stories of male representatives watching porn on the House floor, and making cat noises while female representatives debate.
  • The “10 feminists you should be following on twitter” list includes Jessica W. Luther (@scATX), a local activist here in Austin who was instrumental in the organization of the recent abortion bill protests.
  • It’s really nice to be able to report a positive thing having to do with Texas. Thousands of rape kits will be tested now, due to an $11 million budget appropriation.
  • Here is some really awesome and useful public speaking advice from Kathleen Hanna.
  • The International Museum of Women has launched a new interactive online exhibition: Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices.
  • A mix for badass ladies doing badass stuff with their badass friends.

Women Who Protest

Women have a long history of organizing to demand basic rights. These are just a few examples of their activism, current and past, around the world.

Summer of Fun(damental rights being taken away)!

This summer, anti-abortion legislation was introduced in twenty-three states and enacted in nine. In every instance, the majority of citizens fought to tell their elected officials that these laws were unnecessary and unwanted.

This interactive graphic provides details of legislation in each state.

  1. Texas received the majority of media attention, due to Wendy Davis’ filibuster and the protesters who turned out in the thousands.
  2. The leadership may not want to listen to TX women, but they will have to listen to me. I intend to filibuster this bill. #SB5 #txlege
  3. MT @shefalil: Every bit of floor in rotunda packed. People have crowded the first floor. #txlege #SB5 pic.twitter.com/Xu4fHUSSj6
  4. Even when Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst broke senate rules to push the vote through, citizens in the gallery ran out the clock by yelling and chanting until midnight.
  5.  Cheering in the gallery drowns out the senators.
    #SB5 #txlege
  6. No order in Senate. Chair can’t hear over jeering from gallery. Senators can’t vote. Never seen anything like this. #txlege
  7. Dewhurst tried to take roll after 12 p.m. Online records first showed that the bill was passed after midnight. It was altered shortly thereafter, but people had already taken screen shots and were posting them online.
  9. Update: Senate vote on SB5 was listed on computer record 30 minutes ago as occurring 6-26. Now shows 6-25, was changed. #txlege
  10. Governor Perry called a special session and HB2 was repackaged into two other bills. They both passed, even after thousands more showed up to testify against them in two committee hearings, during which testimony was heard that totally invalidated the very basis for the proposed regulations.
  11. DSHS Expert: I wouldn’t be able to say abortion procedures would be safer if performed at ambulatory surgical center #SB1 #txlege
  12. DSHS inspects licensed abortion clinics every yr, but ASC inspected every 3-6 yrs #SB1 #txlege
  13. Texan women who died in 2011 from abortions: 0. Texan women who died in 2011 from pregnancy-related complications: 116. #sb1 #swtw #txlege
  14. Texas wasn’t the only state where these TRAP laws were forced through. “TRAP” stands for “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers”. These bills are meant to eliminate abortion rights by singling out abortion providers for medically unnecessary, politically motivated state regulations, presented to the public in the name of “women’s health.”
  15. In Wisconsin, they pushed through mandatory ultrasound legislation, which we in Texas are all too familiar with.  Mike Ellis, the republican president of the Wisconsin State Senate can be seen here, single-handedly making sure the bill passed, while acting like a complete maniac in what can only be assumed is an attempt to make Lt. Governor Dewhurst seem like the most reasonable man alive.
  16. WI State Senate vote on SB206 (Abortion bill) 6.12.13
  17. Iowa passed an extra-special bill which includes a stipulation that gives Terry Branstad, Ohio Governor and creepy mustache connoisseur, the authority to personally approve or veto (most likely veto) every medicaid-funded abortion in the state.
  18. Ohio’s new law prohibits public hospitals and their physicians from entering into written agreements with ambulatory surgical centers that perform abortions to accept their patients in case of emergency, while requiring clinics to have such agreements in order to operate.
  19. At the 12:44 mark in this documentary, see an interview with Ohio Representative, adamant pro-lifer, and bill co-sponsor Jim Buchy, wherein he literally admits to never having given any thought to why a woman might want to get an abortion.
  20. In North Carolina, a bill regulating abortion clinics was tacked on to a motorcycle safety bill, prompting citizen protests and the #motorcyclevagina meme.
  21. Pro-choice activists will ride motorcycles around governor’s mansion to protest abortion bill thkpr.gs/17baCfS #motorcyclevagina
  22. To protect our pretty lil heads! RT @pphsnc: We need helmets to protect our uteruses? #MotorcycleVagina #SB353 #ncga pic.twitter.com/Jnn8DdFUmA
  23. So why is it that all these bills, so similar in nature, are being introduced and passed against the will of the people, all at the same time? Is it a coincidence, or something more carefully orchestrated? This article by the Daily Kos goes into detail on the history of ALEC, a bigoted, conservative organization that’s mired in the past and funded generously by the Koch brothers, among others.
  24. #ALEC business cycle: #legislation that’s all abt $$ MT @moderate2severe: Why TX #TXLege [#Congress] sux. #SWTW #FJL pic.twitter.com/odUyrhfcv7
  25. ALEC has provided “model” legislation that has been implemented at the state level all over the country. In the case of Texas, by one of their board members, Jodie Laubenburg, who has gone on record as saying that the government shouldn’t have to provide prenatal health care, because the fetuses “aren’t born yet.” Yeah.

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The Future of Media

For someone like me, a relative newcomer to the world of new media and technology, the answer to “What is your vision for the future of media?” can be a tough one to attempt. But that is the question I have been asked to write about as part of my digital media class, and so attempt it I shall.

Recently, our class assignments and discussions have centered around the topics of net neutrality and universal access. I tend to agree with a point of view presented in an article from Wired, which stated that the natural path of industrialization was, “Invention, propagation, adoption, and control.”

It’s not that I’m in favor of restricting access to the internet, but I do think open access is something that most of its users take for granted. My generation has grown up with  this resource that, by and large, they accept as the status quo but do not understand. As other forms of media become less viable channels for corporations to profit from, they will turn their attention to regulating the internet in ways that benefit them.

I don’t believe, as Mark Suster predicts in this article, that the era of “The App Internet” will cycle from its current hyper-usage into obsoletion. The generation who is utilizing social media at such high levels that it eclipses other aspects of their lives isn’t going to suddenly peak in usage and then grow bored of it. For them, it is as real a component as any daily face-to-face activity, and a major tool in their careers as well as their personal lives.

In terms of regulation, however, the success or failure of restrictive laws depends very much on how they are presented, and at what intervals. There is already so much regulation in every other area of our lives, that, if introduced in seemingly reasonable increments, I can definitely see people rationalizing the passage of laws regulating the internet. Gradual change is rarely met with much resistance, except by those who are knowledgeable about what its implications really are. If, however, a blatant and obvious threat is detected, there will be backlash, as was the case with SOPA and PIPA.

I can’t say what the next wave of innovation to sweep the internet will be, but until some huge need presents itself to be filled, or a major threat prompts complacent people to act, I think federal regulation of the internet will prevail to some extent. The best way to combat this is to educate internet users about the technology they are using, and in doing so turn passive users into innovators and activists.


Image via ryanatdurham.blogspot.com

Personal Branding: Identifying & Refining Your “Legacy”

As an assignment for Digital and Online Media, my class and I read several articles and watched a video on online business models and developing a personal brand. If there was a common theme between them, it was that your “brand” is of greater value than money, or perhaps even actual success. When done in a genuine way, your personal brand development becomes about your story, and people will connect to that more than your net worth or the facts listed on your resume.

I especially enjoyed seeing the example of Jonathan Valdez, the Texas State graduate who is a great real-life example of the principle of consistency explained in Gary Vaynerchuck’s video. Every little thing Jonathan did, from hosting a radio show as a student, to running a fashion blog, contributed to his overall brand and eventual success as a fashion writer for US Weekly.

If I have to make a guess on how I am perceived based on my social media footprint as it stands right now, I would say that I would come off as somewhat politically engaged, although inexperienced. Hopefully I portray the image of someone who is always striving to inform themselves on issues they’re not familiar with. It’s much easier to describe how I would like to be perceived: fully informed, up-to-the-minute with news, and articulate.

When it comes to things I could be doing better to convey my personal brand…Well, I could write everyday for one thing, and participate in platforms like Facebook and twitter more actively. I could also become more involved in interacting with other bloggers of similar interests, and I could learn to create my own logos and banners so my page would look less sad when people visited it.

Image via summerscase.com

Image via summerscase.com

Clear Channel’s Anti-Woman Advertising Policy

Clear Channel Radio has pulled a commercial advertising South Wind Women’s Center, a reproductive healthcare clinic in Kansas, for being in violation of their “decency standards.”

Clear Channel has no problem allowing local affiliates to run sexist contests that fetishize women’s bodies, nor do they hesitate to give a microphone to vile, lumbering imbecile Rush Limbaugh.

These ads, apparently so unspeakably offensive that they must never disgrace our hallowed airwaves, can be heard here and here. The second one states twice that they trust women to make their own decisions. That must be it.

Remember last year, when Michigan State Rep Lisa Brown was barred from speaking after using the word “vagina” when testifying against an abortion-restricting bill? Yeah. It’s fine if others engage in the sexual commodification of women for entertainment purposes, or if male law makers with no knowledge of female reproductive care want to pass laws that restrict it. But GOD FORBID there be any mention of lady parts for any purpose other than catering to men. That’s indecent.

SWWC_1Image via Feministing.com

Ms. Dissident has a Facebook page!

I’m still working on getting everything up and running, so it might be a bit premature to start putting the word out, but I’m very excited nonetheless. I plan on updating the page with links to news, music, polls, and pictures. You can click here or in the sidebar to “like” Ms. Dissident.

Picture via goldenstories.tumblr.com