5 min read
by Emma Glassman-Hughes | 02/02/2017
Memes, memes, the magical fruit // the more you eat, the more you can distract yourself from the rise of fascism.
@feminismindia via Instagram
While millions of women were participating in the Women’s March from D.C. to Sydney last week, women in Bengaluru, India took to the streets in solidarity to promote their feminist values, too. Their march, coined #IWillGoOut, was a response to news of the mass molestation of women reported in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve. The message these women wanted to send was one of independence and defiance of patriarchal control and violence; they want the world to know that they will continue to assert their rights to public space even in the face of adversity and potential threats to their bodily autonomy. This march wasn’t without issues, however; some women felt excluded because they weren’t financially able to take the day off from work to march, and that certain issues like women’s mental health were not made a priority in the demonstrations. One thing our feminist movements have in common around the world is the need for intersectionality and inclusion, no matter where our protests may take us.
Georgia Downey, a student at the University of Washington in King County, opened up a chapter of the Homeless Period Project around her school to address the needs of homeless women and people who menstruate without reliable access to menstrual products. Not only is being homeless in general, like, rly rly difficult, but being homeless AND shedding your uterine lining at the same time--if I had to guess--is nearly unbearable. The Homeless Period Project mostly focuses on short-term access to menstrual hygiene products through the implementation of tampon/pad drives at stations around major cities. People like Georgia have stepped up all over the country, in the hopes of ending the remaining menstrual taboos that negatively affect women’s lives every day.
Soooo if there’s one thing we don’t like non-menstruators to say about us bleeding folk, it’s that menstruation is a weakness, that it’s stifling, or that it’s limiting in any way. TBH, this period is a super power, ok? That being said, there are plenty of menstruators who experience unbearable symptoms each cycle that take a major toll on one’s health--mentally, physically, spiritually, metaphysically, etc.-ally. This tension (should I be productive AF on my period, or should I embrace some hardcore self-care?) has left many around the world at a crossroads on the subject of the period holiday, a term that refers to a monthly day off that women in some countries are given to deal with their periods from home. Recently, there’s been debate in the southern African country of Zambia over these days off (what locals call “mother’s days”), between those, mostly women, who value the extra day per month to help manage their menstrual symptoms, and those who feel women are abusing the privilege and simply being lazy by not coming into work one day out of each month. This practice began in Japan and has been adopted by several other countries around the world as a way to address gender inequality. What’s your take?
If nothing else, the Twittersphere is reliable: it will always have an uproarious reaction to conservatives trying to talk about period politics--or in this case, accidentally talking about period politics. Jeffrey Lord, your fav #ResidentialRepublican on CNN, recently evoked some powerful period imagery--talkin’ ‘bout bleeding and “cleaning ladies’ undergarments” (@ us next time, Lord)--while attempting to explain his opposition to the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). Understandably, Jeff's word choice had viewers confused about how menstruating foreigners could have any effect on a person’s feelings about NAFTA. Turns out, Lord wasn’t talking about periods at all--he was talking about bleeding dyes from cheaply made products (apparently ladies’ undergarments were the only products he could think of) that wind up costing small, independent dry cleaners extra money and hurting the U.S. economy. An ...interesting… take on NAFTA to say the least--which, by the way, is a very controversial piece of legislation that has had adverse effects on agricultural and small business workers in the global south, especially Mexico, and should be reworked for those reasons instead of reasons that include Trump’s American exceptionalism.
This week, the President of the U.S. followed through with some of his most heinous campaign promises, including a Muslim Ban and a massive slash to our already too-small allotment of admittance for Syrian refugees. Feeling desperate, horrified, and empowered, thousands of people flooded U.S. airports in protest of these executive orders and in solidarity with travelers affected by the ban, including these adorable fathers and their children who united around their mutual interests in ending hate. The immediacy of the response and of the action taken by protesters and lawyers led to small successes around the country, such as halting the executive orders for certain travelers, allowing some people to remain in the U.S. instead of being torn away from family, being denied entry even with a visa, and/or being sent back to violent, war-torn countries from which they were fleeing in the first place. It’s the #littlethings. Keep up with Trump’s rapid fire policy changes here.
Speaking of memes, check out the French MemeQueens who photoshopped your new fav pic of HRC and her girl gang.
The legacy of the pussyhat lives on.
Beyoncé is having twins and I'm having an aneurism. (Not rly, I'm ok).
Newsfeed or WMD? Stay safe, all of you activist baes.
Samantha Bee is hosting an alt White House Correspondence Dinner and we're alt crying.
Happy Black History Month! Google featured sculptor Edmonia Lewis today and it was beautiful!
by Emma Glassman-Hughes