What’s Current: Thousands of women protest male violence and femicide in South Africa

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

Image: Twitter/MarthaPuth

  • Thousands of women took to the streets in South Africa yesterday to protest violence against women and demand an adequate state response. The femicide rate in the country is five times more than the global rate.
  • According to a new report, Tokyo Medical University has been lowering the entrance exam scores of female applicants in order to limit the number of female medical students it accepts.
  • In Brazil, Debora Deniz, a law professor and pro-choice activist, has been assigned round-the-clock bodyguards in advance of her Supreme Court testimony in favour of legalizing abortion.
  • On Tuesday, Dustin Duthie was arrested and charged with the murder of his girlfriend Taylor Toller in Calgary. Duthie was also charged with the murders of his mother, Shawn Boshuck, and his stepfather, Alan Pennylegion.
  • Fernando Magaz Negrete, an employee at a shelter for immigrant children in Phoenix, has been arrested for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl who was being held at the facility. Negrete has been charged with molestation of a child, sexual abuse, and aggravated assault.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration announced that it has issued warnings to companies that are promoting the use of laser devices for “vaginal rejuvenation.”

“These products have serious risks and don’t have adequate evidence to support their use for these purposes,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the F.D.A. commissioner. “We are deeply concerned women are being harmed.”

Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • susannunes

    When it comes to surgery or laser “treatments” as a part of “vaginal rejuvenation,” how different is it really from female genital mutilation in some developing nations? It is only a matter of degree. The reasons are mostly the same apart from some urinary issues, and that is women undergo “vaginal rejuvenation” for fear of losing a husband or other male partner. It is the same reason they go for breast augmentation or labiaplasty. This is all about “satisfying” a porn-addled man sexually. Not worth the risk. If a man doesn’t appreciate you as you are, get rid of him. A divorce or kicking him out of the house is way better than having your body destroyed by these mutilations.

    • Jani

      I’ve noticed this trend for “vaginal rejuvenation” recently but I couldn’t understand how burning the insides of the vaginal walls with lasers could possibly do anything other than create scar tissue.

      The influence of the porn industry on men’s expectations of how a woman should look and act has become increasingly dysfunctional. The impact on women’s body esteem has been catastrophic. It’s reached the stage where a healthy and completely normal young woman is going to be dissatisfied with her body ‘as is’. We now have women who have also inherited a kind of intergenerational body stress through diet culture, if they’re unfortunate enough to have mothers AND grandmothers who spent their entire adult lives ‘on a diet’ and passed their anxieties around food and weight to their daughters.

      Porn culture is only going to intensify women’s pre existing body hatred. If you search online for a documentary called The Perfect Vagina which looks at labiaplasty and other issues, there is one man saying that he would not have sex with a woman with large labia which he describes as “beefy curtains”. In a UK medical/academic study into what is ‘normal’ labia size, it was interesting to compare the clinical findings compared with pornographic media. The labia size most commonly favoured by porn was in the smallest range, but this was not the most common size seen in the clinical setting. When you think of this ‘preference’ for hairlessness, small labia and “tightness” it resembles the genitalia of a child.

      • susannunes

        I immediately thought of pedophilia when I first heard about pubic shaving of hair. I was just horrified this was even being done. How can anybody think pornography is harmless? It is poison, pure poison.

        The only way this is going to change is women absolutely refusing to have anything to do with porn-addled men. It is a matter of survival. A woman will never, ever be able to please a porn-poisoned man by mutilating her body. It will never be good enough. Women need to understand they don’t men at all to be happy. Only hold out for those who are truly respectful, kind, and worthy, even if it means a long wait.

        I saw that documentary. Labiaplasty is horrific.