Annabelle River's picture

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

The first time I heard the name Elna Baker was on the "Matchmakers" episode of This American Life radio show.  Her segment on working for FAO Schwartz is well worth listening to: The beginning makes me laugh hard, and then it packs a sucker-punch of commentary on American racism and classism.  Touched by Elna Baker's humor and poignancy, I went looking for her personal website, which has clips of her telling stories.  Watching her first video clip, then, I was surprised to learn that Elna Baker is also a practicing Mormon committed to virginity-until-marriage.  As she says of her  dating experience for the laugh-line, "As a Mormon, I don't believe in having sex, and eventually, as a guy, he didn't believe in that.  So atheists do have beliefs."

arvan's picture

Depictions of Female Orgasm Being Banned by Classification Board

Written by Australian Sex Party   

Federal government censors are directing Customs officials to confiscate depictions of the female orgasm when it is accompanied with an ejaculation.  The Classification Board is also starting to classify films that feature female ejaculation as Refused Classification rather than X. Films that show both male and female ejaculation have routinely been given an X rating since 1983.  The new ruling follows a boom in the numbers of adult films featuring female ejaculation since the pioneering research of Professor Emeritus Beverly Whipple was published in her book The G Spot.  Recent articles in the New Scientist and on Norman Swan’s Health Report on ABC radio have raised public awareness of this largely hitherto unknown aspects of female orgasm.

The films are being banned (Refused Classification) on one of two grounds:

1) That the depictions are a form of urination which is banned under the label of ‘golden showers’ in the Classification Guidelines or

2) Female ejaculation is an ‘abhorrent’ depiction

Australian Sex Party convenor, Fiona Patten, said that the decision showed a lack of intellectual rigour and a lack of understanding of female sexuality on the part of Australia’s censorship authorities.  She said it appeared that some members on the Board did not believe the science around female orgasm. 

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Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl

In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all -- a cell that we have all been taught to suppress.  She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.


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Study Finds that Many Victims of Partner Violence Experience Reproductive Coercion

Groundbreaking Study Finds that Many Victims of Partner Violence Experience Reproductive Coercion

SAN FRANCISCO - A new study sheds light on a little-recognized form of abuse in which men use coercion and birth control sabotage to cause their partners to become pregnant against their wills. The study, published in the January issue of Contraception, finds this kind of reproductive control to be especially common in relationships in which women experience physical or sexual partner violence.

“Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy” is the first quantitative examination of the relationship between intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy. It finds that young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant - including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as “reproductive coercion,” are often associated with physical or sexual violence. Conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Pubic Health, the study also finds that among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.

From August 2008 to March 2009, researchers worked at five reproductive health clinics in Northern California, querying some 1,300 English- and Spanish-speaking 16- to 29-year-old women who agreed to respond to a survey about their experiences. They were asked about birth-control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and intimate partner violence.  Approximately one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage.  Fifty-three percent of respondents said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.  Thirty-five percent of the women who reported partner violence also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.

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Vulnerable girls risk sexual exploitation on Juba's streets

JUBA, 28 January 2010 (PlusNews) - In a large market in Juba, the regional capital of Southern Sudan, young women spend long afternoons lounging on beds in sweltering iron sheet rooms, waiting for men.

One girl, no more than 17, wearing a tight tee-shirt with the words "I love beer" emblazoned on it, points us in the direction of a different set of rooms, with the really young girls.

IRIN has come to the market with Cathy Groenendijk, director of a small local NGO, Confident Children Out of Conflict (CCC), which for the past two-and-a-half years has run a drop-in centre for children from desperately poor homes in Juba. Today, she is searching for 14-year-old Alice*, one of her protégés who recently rang her to say she had found accommodation in an area known to house mainly sex workers.

"I can't be angry with her, I know where her family lives - right on the street; I can't judge her for wanting something better for herself, and her body is all she has to bargain with," she said.

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French Algerian actress attacked over feminist play

By Expatica

A 45-year-old theatre actress was doused with petrol in an attack in Paris after weeks of receiving threats over a feminist play she wrote on Algerian women.

Paris – French police believe a theatre actress who was doused with petrol in an attack in Paris last week was targeted for starring in a feminist play she wrote on Algerian women, a judicial official said Friday.

The 45-year-old born in Algeria, who goes by the name of Rayhana, said two men approached her while she was walking to the theatre on Tuesday, grabbed her from behind, slapped her across the face and poured petrol on her.

"I could smell the petrol. A flame brushed my hat and then I ran," she said.

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Ban lifted on Sisters in Islam book in Malaysia

By M. Mageswari (

[The Star Online]

KUALA LUMPUR: The SIS Forum (Malaysia) succeeded in throwing out the Home Minister’s order banning its 215-page book, Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism.

High Court judge Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof on Monday ruled that the book is not a threat to public order.

He said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia’s (Jakim) objection to the book was that it could confuse Muslims, especially those who with only a superficial knowledge of their religion, as the publication explains Islamic teachings according to the writers’ own views.

“Can this disrupt public order? I think not.

“Only seven pages out of 215-page book are said to have offended the guidelines by Jakim, and those came from only two of 10 articles published in the book.

“I fail to find objective evidence to support the facts (to ban the book),” he said.

Annabelle River's picture

A Plea for Truth in Advertising

In my last post, I mentioned my ongoing admiration of The Daily Show for its consistent insight.  But there is one part of late-evening Comedy Central that frustrates me to no end, and that is the parade of commercials featuring straight men lying to women.  The men selling Twix candy bars gets women to sleep with them by denouncing books they enjoy or lying about having been burglarized; the men selling Jim Beam whiskey get women's interest with rented puppies.  The straight men in the Captain Morgan rum ad and The Hangover trailers lie to their significant others about drinking and parties, because apparently women Never Let Them Have Any Fun.

And with so many better-organized feminists campaigning against "objectification" and "exploitation," I have to explain that I'm generally not bothered by advertising that links products to sexy, scantily-clad women.  It's not clever advertising, but I like looking at sexy, scantily-clad women too.  When I go to dance clubs or the dungeon, I often intentionally dress scantily and hope that people think I look sexy.  I don't believe that finding someone physically attractive must be mutually exclusive to respecting their humanity.

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Open Letter to Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: All Human Rights Defenders must be Released Immediately

[From FIDH]

Open Letter to Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), wishes to welcome the release on bail on January 14, 2010 of Ms. Atieh Youssefi , member of the “One Million Signatures” Campaign , Ms. Noushin Ebadi, medical lecturer at Azad University of Tehran and sister of Ms. Shirin Ebadi , and of Mr. Hassan Rasouli , Deputy Secretary General of the Cultural Foundation Baran.

Nevertheless, the Observatory deplores that Ms. Youssefi and Ms. Ebadi remain prosecuted, and calls upon the Iranian authorities to put an end to the judicial harassment against them.

Furthermore, the Observatory fears that other “One Million Signatures” Campaign members, including Ms. Bahareh Hedayat , Ms. Shiva Nazarahari , Ms. Mansoureh Shojaie , also founding member of the Campaign and of the Women’s Cultural Centre, Ms. Samieh Rashidi , Ms. Maryam Zia , Ms. Mahsa Hekmat , Ms. Parisa Kakaï , all arrested at the end of December 2009 and on January 1 and 2, 2010, as well as Ms. Bahman Ahmadi Amoui , arrested in July 2009 and sentenced on January 4 to seven years and four months’ imprisonment, remain in detention as to date, as no information to the contrary could be obtained [1] .

Additionally, the Observatory fears that Mr. Emad Baghi , journalist, founder of the Society for the Defence of Prisoners’ Rights and winner of the 2009 Martin Ennals Award, Mr. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi , student activist and former leader of a student NGO, Mr. Mashaollah Shamsolvaezine , Spokesperson for the Association for the Defence of Freedom of the Press, Mr. Alireza Beheshti , Director of the website kalameh , journalists Mostafa Izadi , Morteza Kazemian , Nasrin Vaziri , Keyvan Mehregan , Mr. Mahin Fahimi , peace activist, Mr. Mehdi Arabshahi , Adwar Tahkim NGO member, Ms. Zohreh Tonkaboni , member of the organisation Mothers for Peace, and Mr. Morteza Haji , Secretary General of Baran , also remain arbitrarily detained following their arrest in the aftermath of the December 27 demonstrations.

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the aforementioned human rights defenders, as well as to release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it seem to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

The Observatory further calls upon the Iranian authorities to cease the repression and prosecution of all human rights defenders in Iran, and to immediately and unconditionally release those who are still detained , so as to conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Islamic Republic of Iran .

We express our sincere hope that you will take these considerations and requests into account.

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr Belhassen Eric Sottas

FIDH President OMCT Secretary General



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The Women’s Movement in Russia: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

By Zoya Khotkina, Ph.D., Moscow Centre for Gender Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

1.     What does Russian feminism (as the basis for a social movement) look like?

The women’s movement in contemporary Russia exists as the social, cultural, and political activity of women’s groups and organisations, aimed at bringing together the interests of various social strata of women and bringing about a change in the system of gender relations. The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has officially registered over 600 women’s organisations. The women’s movement in Russia is one of the most active parts of the Third Section Movement, encompassing approximately 10% of the most active NGOs.

To understand the originality of the contemporary Russian women’s movement, and to distinguish it from Western feminism, it is essential to give at least a brief overview of its historical roots. I shall present only the main theses on this issue and shall state a few historical fact and instances.

Thesis one

Russian feminism (as a theory) and women’s movement (as practice) were not “imported” to Russia from the West; rather than that, they had a deep historical tradition, dating back to the mid-19th century. This means that Russian feminism is over one hundred and fifty years old, rather than fifteen, as argued by some Russian and Western specialists. Russia has had two great waves of feminism:

    * the first wave – from the mid-19th century until 1930 and
    * the second wave – from the late 1980s to the present.

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