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JULY 2013




I like anime. A lot. So do my friends. Some people would call the films of Japanese artist Hayao Miyazaki a guilty pleasure—they're cute, they're kid-friendly, and they're heartwarming.
But I'd argue that Miyazaki's films—including my girlfriend's favorite, Spirited Away—are not a guilty pleasure but some of the best feminist films ever made.
What makes Miyazaki's 13 films special is what they say about life, its struggles, and its joys. Miyazaki's many heroines have some exceptional potential as feminist figures in ways that Western leading ladies often don't.
In many Hollywood films, narratives are built around the simplistic idea of good versus evil: "good guys" kill off "bad guys" who are devils through and through. In contrast, the flowing narrative structure of Miyazaki’s films allow for a lot of flexibility in the roles played by heroes and villains. Most of the time, the hero or heroine's journey does not center on the need to violently defeat an ultimate villain. From Bitch Magazine: Read Full Article



war doesn't always mean rape

Almost every day, readers write to tell us that women will always be targeted in conflict. Rape, they say, is just a natural part of war, and there's no way to stop it.
Yet research shows that this isn't actually the case.
Take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example. While fiercely arguing about the issue, people point to illegal settlements, others to suicide bombings, still others to rockets, U.S. bias, and their Palestinian born aunt. The grim list of abuses, root causes, and reasons for allegiances is long, and it's why some avoid the topic altogether while others dedicate their careers to it. But listen closely, and you'll start to realize that one type of violence is rarely, if ever, mentioned in this conflict: rape. Read Full Article from women under siege



July 24 - August 21
Caravans will travel from both coasts, rallying and gathering support along the way, arriving in North Dakota before August 1 when new laws are set to shut down the last abortion clinic in the state. Then, down to Wichita where those who courageously re-opened the clinic of Dr. George Tiller following his assassination by an anti-abortion gunman are facing serious, and escalating threat. On to Jackson, Mississippi where a temporary court injunction is the only thing keeping the last remaining clinic in the state open. All along the way, we'll protest and confront the anti-abortion woman-haters, erect visual displays that tell the truth about abortion and birth control, collect and amplify women's abortion stories in order to break the silence, defend the clinics and providers most under attack, and meet with people to build lasting organization to DEFEAT the whole war on women.GET ON BOARD.



PussyRiot Poster

"They will put in their own comments," says one of the arrested members of Pussy Riot in court as she watches the swarm of journalists and photographers taking endless shots of the women held in the glass cage, awaiting the verdict. "We'll be just a background image. I don't want to be a background image."
Whether we like it or not, we are living in the age where one revolution after another gets televised. Last year, human rights activists together with the liberal western public were holding their breaths, watching the trial of three members of Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot. In March 2012, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested in the aftermath of their site-specific performance 'Mother of God, Drive Putin Away' in the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Pussy Riot, a feminist performance art collective with strong punk influence, was established in September 2011 in direct response to a change in the law allowing Putin to run for the office of president for the third time in the upcoming election. The collective specialises in flash-mob-like interventions, performing punk protest songs with politically charged lyrics in colourful dresses, tights and with their faces always covered with balaclavas. Read Full Article and Guardian Review



NASA draws penis on Mars

"NASA drew a penis on Mars." — Findings From Harper's Mag. July 2013 (image to left)
From Robin Thicke's latest songs to abortion restrictions around the country, America's all about men's desires.

In his single "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke sings soulfully about giving a good girl what she really wants—buckwild sex—even if she can’t come out and admit it. It's a catchy enough song. Some might even call it this summer's anthem. But "Blurred Lines" is also a song that revisits the age-old belief that sometimes when a woman says no she really means yes.
Critics have been vocal about the sexual violence undertones in the song and they're not wrong. Robin just knows you want it, girl. He just does, so shut up and let him give it to you. Scores of men and women are, apparently, on board. "Blurred Lines" is Thicke's most popular song to date. In his latest single, "Give it 2 U," Thicke doubles down on his bad boy phase with the lyrics "I got this for you / a little Thicke for you / A big kiss for you / I got a hit for you / Big dick for you / Let me give it to you." In the wake of the criticism, Thicke is fairly unapologetic, saying,"Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around."
I guess that's that. Men want what they want.
In truth, I like these songs. They make me want to dance. I want to sing along. They are delightful pop confections. But. I enjoy the songs the way I have to enjoy most music –I have to forget I am a sentient being. I have to lighten up.Read Full Article


EIGHT FAMILIES: Stories of Raising Feminist Children

Growing up in China in the 1980s and 90s was difficult for Vanessa Liu, an accountant and mother of two who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. "I was raised in a family with no gender equality," she begins. "The men always had power over women. The older generation liked boys more than girls because the boys would carry the family name from generation to generation. Since the boys were favored, all chores went to girls."
Liu did not want this experience to be repeated in her family, so when she had children - girls who are now 5 and 7 - she made sure they saw her and her husband sharing household tasks and venerating the women in their lives. "I always tell my daughters that everyone is equal, no matter their gender, class, race or religion," she adds. Thankfully, since coming to the US nine years ago, Liu's parents have come around. "They now have open minds and see both girls and boys as equally valuable," she grins. Read Full Article


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