Last week, two new series were released which, at first sight, seem to tell very different stories about women.
Netflix’s Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On (HGWTO), produced by the same team as the 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted, was described by many media critics as taking a more nuanced approach to the porn industry than the earlier documentary, by showing how women can be empowered by both making and performing in porn.
Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, on the other hand, is a terrifying “fictional” account of a patriarchal dystopia, where women cannot hold jobs or own property, and serve as either breeders, cleaners and cooks, or trophy wives. Those who resist are exiled to toxic waste dumps or worse. Atwood has asserted many times that her book, on which the series is based, is not really fiction — she drew inspiration from accounts of how women are actually treated around the world.
You can’t just cut and run from Europe, Theresa May – it’s illegal | Helena Kennedy
Leaders of Britain’s 27 EU partner countries have now thrown down the gauntlet: no discussions on a trade deal will take place until there’s progress on the UK’s divorce bill, the Ireland-UK border and the rights of EU citizens.
We are told there is a document on the table relating to UK citizens living in Europe and those of citizens from other EU countries who live in Britain, but the UK is not prepared to sign. No reason has been given as to why.
The problem for our prime minister is that at every turn her head hits the hard wall of law and the role of the European court of justice (ECJ). Theresa May has cornered herself by insisting that the UK withdraw totally from the court and its decisions. Nobody explained to her that if you have cross-border rights and contracts you have to have cross-border law and regulations. And if you have cross-border law you have to have supranational courts to deal with disputes. …
The Overlooked Black Women Who Altered the Course of Feminist Art by Yelena Keller via @artsy
In 1977, the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist organization, gathered in New Jersey for their second retreat, where they worked together to formulate a collaborative letter.
The Heresies Collective, whose membership consisted predominately of white women, had just published its third feminist art journal, titled “Lesbian Art and Artists,” but had neglected to feature a single woman of color. The Combahee River Collective, which was formed to raise consciousness about race and gender issues, had assembled to craft a response.
“We find it appalling,” they wrote, “that a hundred years from now it will be possible for women to conclude that in 1977 there were no practicing Black and other Third World lesbian artists.”
The critical debate that it provoked was an expression of the complex and often tumultuous relationship between mainstream feminism and the black women who were so often excluded from it—a tension that continues today. The activities undertaken by black women to push back against their erasure, in the late ’60s through the early ’80s, effectively amounted to a desire for a revolution. …
When Motherhood Wasn’t in the Cards by Stephanie Gates
Every day I look in the mirror and a caramel-colored woman with closely cropped hair stares back at me. I look at a smooth, relatively blemish-free face. I peer at the slightly dark circles under my eyes that I think are hereditary. One of my sisters has them as does my mother. I Iook like a normal middle-aged woman; I am a normal middle-aged woman. I see a neck that doesn’t have another head growing out of it. But sometimes I don’t know. Because as soon as I say I don’t have children, I can almost feel a head pushing up and out of the side of my neck. I know that it’s not really there, but the way people look at me makes me think that there’s another set of eyes looking right back at the person looking at me.
I am an anomaly because I am a woman and I am childless. I am a Black woman and I am childless, so that makes me all the more strange. How can this be? That’s what we do, right? That’s what we’ve been doing—having babies for the masters, having babies to stay on welfare. Having babies to have babies. We are baby making machines, right? So, what does that make me? I am supposed to be somebody’s biological mother and I am not. The fact that I have been instrumental in the rearing of other people’s children doesn’t count. So steeped is the stereotype that every woman is a mother or should be one—especially a Black woman, that when asked about my childbearing status, the question is always How many children do you have? and not Do you have children? …