What’s Current: American lingerie retailer pulls ‘sexy handmaid’ Halloween costume after complaints

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

 

  • Lingerie retailer, Yandy, has stopped selling their “sexy” Handmaid costume after significant public criticism.
  • A new poll revealed that 90 per cent of UK school girls worry about going to school while on their periods, and that 27 per cent have missed school because of it. Nearly half of the girls surveyed by YouGov said they had experienced boys teasing them about their periods.
  • Doctors and medical students in the US and Canada regularly give unconscious female patients, who are under anesthesia for unrelated surgeries, pelvic exams without prior consent.
  • Julie Bindel writes in The Telegraph that the gender identity policy adopted by an all-male committee of the UK Fire Brigades Union puts female firefighters at risk of having to allow men into their dormitories and washrooms.
  • As the US Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, continue, more troubling details about his treatment of and attitudes toward women have surfaced. As a student at Yale, Kavanaugh belonged to an all-male student society with a sexist name and motto. As a federal court judge, a Yale law professor helped Kavanaugh groom female clerks for his office to have a “‘model-like’ appearance.” Meanwhile, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of assaulting her when she was 15-years-old, is getting support in her home town of Palo Alto, CA, and from thousands of Twitter users on the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • therealcie

    Re: the handmaiden costume: disgusting but hardly surprising. The fashion industry has long been notorious for featuring photos with models appearing to be terrorized, abused both physically and sexually, or even dead. Surely women whose sole purpose is being a brood mare must be sexy.

  • Polly MacDavid

    I hated going to school when I had my period. OMG, gym! What a drag! I remember having many an argument with my mother on that subject, she would NOT let me stay home for any reason. That was back in the days when you had to wear a huge bulky pad with a uncomfortable belt that cut into you. And the only tampons were Tampax & they were little more than bits of cardboard with string attached to them. I have always thought that ALL women, regardless of age, should get at least the first day of their period off from school or work, especially if their flow is heavy. I am so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore.

  • Hekate Jayne

    The UK fire brigade asked 8 males if males should be allowed to shower with women, live with women, inflict themselves onto women, while claiming that their lady dick is harmless, dainty, and oh so feminine, and the 8 males were all YES. (I know 5 voted yes, but all 8 are responsible).

    Males voting to allow other males to prey on women. Shocking.

    At some point, we are going to have to do something that is an action and as a class, other than explaining and begging. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be. And if we wait too long, it will be impossible.

  • Liz

    Handmaiden 2.0

  • Hekate Jayne

    I have written about it here……

    https://radfemspiraling.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/women-should-be-paid-for-production/

    And here……..

    https://radfemspiraling.wordpress.com/2017/12/25/refusing-male-dominance-in-one-act-of-defiance/

    The first thing that we need to do is stop having children. And in areas where males control each woman by making birth control or abortion access difficult to obtain, if not impossible, then no more PIV.

    In the 60s, women learned to do abortions, and bypassed males completely. The organization, Jane, did this for several years. Males make abortion out to be this OMG MAJOR SURGERY, and that’s just not true. I am not saying that it’s super simple, but there are ways of ending pregnancy that we can take care of and help each other out with them. Not a single one of us needs to be asking a male for permission to do anything.

    I don’t interact with males unless I absolutely have to. If I go into a restaurant and get a male server, I politely say that I would like “her” to wait on me, and point to the nearest woman. And then I tip her well.

    I always go to the female employee, even if that means that I have to wait. At any store or business. I don’t interact with males unless I absolutely have to.

    And when I have no other choice, I do not smile At them, I do not chit chat. I don’t ask them how they are or how their weekend was. I politely carry on whatever business that I have in as boring a fashion as I can. I am the same in a work setting. I am polite but I don’t interact on a personal level with a male, ever.

    It makes some of them mad. And I am the only woman that I know that does this. But imagine if a number of us did it. Just from the reaction that I get, they are comically confused, and even though I am not mean or hateful, they expect a woman to be all feminine at them, and they think that I am bitchy, and that I need to smile because my demeanor is flat.

    We have been mined as a resource by males for centuries. They can try to mine me. But they won’t get shit.

    These are just a few ideas. I think that it waa Sheila Jefferies that said that she was done begging males for shit, that she was going to live her life as she wanted to right now, and stop buying into the male bullshit of working with them just to keep us enslaved. That makes no sense. I am done wasting my time.

    • OldPolarBear

      SCUM Manifesto maybe? *

      It was late last night (actually early this morning) when I saw your original comment in this subthread and unfashionable’s question and I was too tired to think of that. But it came to mind this morning. But as to the actual content of your reply above:

      The first thing that we need to do is stop having children.

      Yes. For the reasons you say, and also because the human race is reproducing out of control and is in danger of causing our own extinction. I might say that wouldn’t be an an entirely bad thing, but we will probably take down a big portion of the biosphere with us and our fellow species don’t deserve that. I know the concept of “overpopulation” (of humans) is unpopular across the political “spectrum,” even among many feminists, but there it is.

      I always go to the female employee, even if that means that I have to wait. At any store or business. I don’t interact with males unless I absolutely have to.

      I can’t say always, but reading this, I realized that I am doing this sometimes, especially at a supermarket I frequent. They hire a lot of high school and college-age kids, including as cashiers and “baggers” in the check-out lanes. The women on average are much more mature, competent and efficient and pleasant to deal with than the young men. The male cashiers are on average better than the male baggers, probably because they need a certain amount of maturity and good demeanor to be promoted to cashier. But still. A lot of the young male baggers are lollygagging around, joking, talking nonsense and doing a shitty job of packing groceries. It is mostly the complete opposite with the young women. You can’t always pick which bagger you want, because there is a less than 1-to-1 ration of baggers to cashiers; they hop around lanes according to the workflow. Anyway, I may start doing this more often, and in more kinds of places, as a deliberate strategy. Or, maybe I should start going to the male employees, always, to leave the women open for other women.

      All the other things you mentioned. Especially the smiling thing; I could go on forever, but I won’t because it’s sort of OT and this is already long and it’s a lovely fall day and I want to go outside and do stuff.

      * I’m only half joking here, or maybe not even joking at all. After Julie Bindel’s post here on FC about it being good summer reading, I bought a copy and read it. It’s a laff riot, and there’s a lot of gold in there.

      • marv

        A friendly disagreement with you that overpopulation is the issue when it comes to biospheric devastation. The real cause is patriarchal capitalism (which Hekate alludes to). Overpopulation arguments divert attention away and they are imbued with racism. The following article makes these points but unfortunately and unforgivably fails to name men as the rulers of capital.

        http://systemchangenotclimatechange.org/article/root-climate-crisis-capitalism-not-demographics

  • OldPolarBear

    Around 1963 or 1964, I had an older brother in college and my older sister had begun nursing school. He was about 12 years older than me and my sister about 10 years older than me. So I was maybe 7. Those were much different times and there was some circumspection about discussing certain subjects around younger siblings, so it’s kind of vague, but I remember some talk about what were then called “panty raids.” This was no top-tier Ivy League school, but an average sort of land-grant university in the Midwest. Brother was in a large, multi-story dormitory building, one of many on campus and at some point after a couple years became an RA. Sister was not in a campus dormitory per se, but the student residence attached to the hospital that had the nursing school. It was all or nearly all women in nursing school at that time, and the residence building was locked down and controlled pretty well, so I don’t think they happened there, but she had apparently heard things. She mentioned women who had their rooms and dressers ransacked and lots of expensive damage or loss of their clothes. As an RA, I think brother had to step in and try to keep a lid on some of the wilder behavior, including defusing some of the panty raids before they got going. Also, I think there were mentions of it around in the culture here and there, maybe in Mad Magazine? As I say, it was all a little murky even then and it’s been well over 50 years. I think I might have expressed some puzzlement about, “Why would they [the men] do that?” and bro and sis were both like, well you wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, and don’t ever.

    I had a rather unconventional college career and only lived in a dorm for one semester in 1977. There were some dubious things that went on, but I never heard of anything like that. I wasn’t that social, so maybe I was just out of it, but something like a panty raid would have been hard to miss or at least hear something about. I overheard plenty of nasty, misogynist things said but they mostly weren’t the guys I associated with. I’m sure there was plenty going on all around me of which I was oblivious, but it does seem like the 70s really were different in a way, there was at least some consciousness about men treating women better, and that we actually have regressed. It’s kind of stunning that this was going on at Yale in 1987, and that the chanting incident was just a few years ago.

    • Jani

      What is a “panty raid”? Sorry, I’m not American so I’m having to guess. Is it guys stealing women’s underwear?

  • Hekate Jayne

    I am with you. 100%.

    I get dismissed as a crazy bitch all of the time. I own it. Because really, the only way we can avoid being denigrated is by smiling while baking pies and giving blow jobs. Fuck that.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Just want to point out that when dudes claim that women went along with the raids because it was all just a joke in good fun, that they are lying sacks of shit.

    Males say rape never happens, women are totes equal, and women enjoyed panty raids! Just more male lies to justify their abhorrent behavior.

  • Hekate Jayne

    I used to love my public library. I am a reader. Anyway, I went for over a decade as a weekly trip. The director was a skinny white boy, but everyone else were women, and various races. And they were all around my age or older.

    Last year, the director left. The new director was a young woman who is maybe 25. In less than a month, the entire staff had left and had been replaced with 3 young, white women, and the rest were all white males. I ran into one of the women who had been let go in the grocery, one day. It turns out the new director had cut all of the original staff’s hours down to 1 day per week and hired all new people. A few of them left on their own, and she ended up letting the women that were trying to stick it out go.

    My next time in the library, I asked her why the entire staff had been replaced. She first said that they left on their own, and then she reluctantly said that she had let a few of them go, after I told her what I knew. One of her staff was, in particular, very rude, and not just to me, but to everyone, and I told her. And then I said that I missed the original staff, they were helpful, and she said that they weren’t qualified to work there. They had all been there OVER A DECADE. A few of them had been there since before she was fucking born.

    Anyway, I said something about how I missed coming in and seeing women working there of different ages, races and backgrounds, and that I liked the diversity, at which point she said “yes, but we don’t only have young women here, we also have WHITE MEN”.

    I wish that I was making that up. My jaw dropped. I was stunned into silence for a few seconds before I finally said “please, please tell me that your idea of diversity is not to hire white males? Because, you know, white males seem to always do just fine”. Then she told me that she couldn’t find anyone qualified that wasn’t white and male.

    Sometimes, I believe that we are doomed.

    • Wren

      “Then she told me that she couldn’t find anyone qualified that wasn’t white and male.”
      I cannot believe she said this. What a fucking idiot.

  • Hanakai

    Chua’s husband writes pornography and she is OK with it, and apparently with anything else that makes money.

    In addition to her Tiger Mom book applauding herself for controlling and emotionally abusing her daughters, Chua has written a highly racist book called The Triple Package in which she and her husband argue for the superiority of their cultures (Chinese and Jewish) and attribute black poverty to cultural inferiority rather than historical racism or slavery, bigotry or discrimination.

    I am not surprised she groomed female clerks for the pervert Kavanaugh.

  • Tinfoil the Hat

    “Sexy Pocahontas” costume still exists, and hasn’t been protested.

  • unfashionable

    I haven’t located a concentration of radical feminists here near Albany, NY either, not lately. But I travel well. I hear you have lobsters.

  • unfashionable

    How best to brainstorm how to connect with other radical feminists locally and in person without tipping off our enemies? I guess you could post your card and screen the responses (by online test questions? by interview on a dedicated phone?) before divulging the meeting place. This could also be done online, here, for instance, with an impersonal email address and general location. Anybody have more ideas about how to connect in person?