An additional cost the Trump Reich has placed on us is that it sucks all the air and energy out of the coverage of any other topic. Democracy is imperiled! How can I sleep or make love or eat chocolate or write about women's issues?
Well, here's a summary on many women's issues I have collected while hyperventilating because democracy is at risk and because Trump wants to speed up climate change. But these other things are happening, too:
1. The Marines United is a group with about 30,000 members, many of them active-duty Marines. This group (1) was caught posting naked photos of female service members, some with their names and current posting attached. The person who reported on this received death threats from some of the Marines United participants. At least some of the women had not given their consent to have their photos shared so widely online.
The automatic audio in that second link is worth listening to, however annoying those things in general are, because it tells us the person reporting on this not only got death threats but was doxxed as were people close to him. He was also subjected to racial and homophobic slurs. And the active participants in the picture posting thumbed their noses openly at the investigators in general, crowed happily over the wider publicity they were receiving, and in general acted like the 4chan teenagers.
There's a wider point I want to make here. Consider that all jobs have pros and cons, and potential applicants think of them before applying.
News like this one give women who are considering joining the armed forces yet another con, one that does not exist for men. This links to the general prevalence of sexual harassment against women by some who work in traditionally male blue-collar occupations. And on Wall Street and in IT, by the way.
All that make women less likely to work in certain fields, and then some "experts" can explain to us the reason for that: Women are just not interested! And of course "women" might not be interested, but even if they are known sexual harassment will affect the costs of certain jobs more for women than for men.
2. An interesting natural experiment happened in the UK. Read through the whole thing, because it is worth it. Two employees advising clients by email, Martin and Nicole (2), swapped their names for two weeks. Here's what Martin experienced:
Nicole's response can be found here.
This swap is not a proper study, of course, but did it ring a bell! That's because I'm the goddess whose skills, talents and learning have been frequently doubted (Zeus, that goatfucker, just gets adulation). I have even gotten trolls to tell me that I should take Econ 101, which is extremely hilarious.
But also exhausting.
This could be a second example of costs of employment which differ by sex. In the longer run someone like Nicole, with the boss these two seem to have had, would probably be fired or at least not promoted, even if she in reality was every bit as capable as Martin. That's because of what Gary Becker called consumer discrimination, in this case sex-based consumer discrimination.
3. Neither of the two examples above are decisive, and their impact could be quite minor. But some things matter greatly. Reproductive rights are one of those things, especially if we include the right for women and girls to choose their own spouses.
In several parts of this world extremist interpretations of religions are trying to take away the rights for women to space their children or to even decide how many children they should have (3). As I have written before, without reproductive rights equality of opportunity for men and women is not possible.
Here are a few examples: Poland, where the Catholic Church reigns supreme and where abortion rights are already very limited is whittling them down even more. Many women do fight back, as they do in Ireland where the Catholic Church has a similar bizarre focus on abortion-as-murder, the one kind of killing the Bible doesn't even mention, let alone condemn.
"Bizarre" is not the correct descriptor, of course, because the anti-abortion stance has to do with keeping women in their proper places (subjugated, mostly) (4) and because all this is about who controls women's reproductive systems, because that's where all the babies come from, as well as future butts on the pews.
As an aside, I find it ironic to note how the most adamant forced birthers tend also to be the ones who believe that once a child is born, that child is hundred percent the mother's responsibility. It's one of those eating your placenta and saving it, too, conundrums.
In Bangladesh, girls can now be married off by whoever makes that decision at pretty much any age!
Bangladesh has been accused of taking a “devastating step backwards” in the fight against child marriage by introducing a legal loophole that sets no age limit for wedlock.
The Child Marriage Restraint Bill keeps the legal age of marriage as 18 for women and 21 for men but introduces exceptions in “special cases” or for in the “best interests” of the adolescent.
Campaigners say the law effectively sets the marriageable age at zero but supporters of the law, which needs presidential approval before coming into effect, say courts will prevent abuse by assessing applications.
There are fears the orders could be used to force victims of sexual abuse or pregnant rape victims to marry their abusers.
The Girls Not Brides group said no examples of “special cases” had been given that would make child marriage acceptable, saying other measures such as protecting education and providing economic opportunities for girls would better serve their futures.
Child marriage poses health dangers for girls who give birth at too young an age. In most cases it also stops the girl from getting any further education. The other doors in her life are slammed shut at that early wedding.
Bangladesh has been able to reduce child marriage considerably in the recent past. I hope this step backwards isn't the beginning of a long religiously-motivated march backwards for women and girls in that country.
Finally, in the good ole US of A, the forced-birth movement has been very busy for decades (5). The Trump Reich has them salivating over all the ways they can ban abortion and some would even ban certain kinds of birth control! Those would be the two best forms of birth control that women can control without their sexual partner's permission: the contraceptive pill and the IUD.
But even if a direct ban of IUDs and the contraceptive pill cannot be achieved yet, the medical professionals' religious refusal rights (conscience clauses) provide one approach for making access to contraception harder for women. Destroying Planned Parenthood also works in that direction, because they are currently one of the few places where poor women can go to get affordable contraception.
4. Two women write about power and women. Here is Mary Beard and here is
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
(1) The number of posters who were involved in evaluating the fuckability of various military women is naturally not 30,000, and probably a much smaller number.
(2) I'm assuming here that the story is factual. Even if it isn't, the phenomenon it describes certainly is.
(3) And not just extremist religions. Rep Steve King (R-IA) is well known for his extremism in wanting to ban essentially all abortions. And then this:
King in a tweet praised Geert Wilders, including a cartoon depicting Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that reads “Western civilization.”Note that "our birth rates." King is not European. His comments have been widely criticized as white nationalist or white supremacist. But he is also giving someone else the job of pushing up those "our" birth rates, and in the US his plan appears to be to force white women to have lots of babies. O how I wish that King could become pregnant, preferably with about one hundred babies simultaneously, all of whom he would have to suckle, diaper and care for.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the congressman wrote.
“It’s a clear message," King said on Monday. "We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more. And Geert Wilders knows that and that’s part of his campaign and part of his agenda."
(4) Another piece of evidence for this is that the Pope would consider married men for the priesthood but not women, even celibate women. Because the connection to gods must be male in far too many religions.
(Luckily not in Echidneism where the only rules are about having to be kind and fair. Liking chocolate helps.)
But more seriously, it's painful to find those respected interpreters of ethics and morals, the conservative organized religions, always wanting to stomp on women's necks. Even the good guys among them, as I understand the current Pope otherwise might be.
(5) This piece gives data from 2014 and this one for 2016. From the latter:
States passed nearly as many anti-abortion laws over the past five years as in the entire 15 years prior