Jun 12
Her eye on the news

On Saturday, model Amber Rose posted a semi-nude photo of herself on Instagram to promote her third annual SlutWalk, a charity walk-a-thon created to help promote sexual awareness and body-shaming. While the photo quickly disappeared from her account — most likely because the site’s community guidelines disallow nude photos — it was online just long enough to ignite a Twitter battle between Rose and British TV personality Piers Morgan, who seemed all too eager to share his opinion on Rose’s body and mansplain how he defines feminism. (The photo still lives on Twitter for those readers who need to see what started the whole kerfuffle.)

Morgan was up first tweeting, “Put it away, luv. Thanks,” as a response to the photo and Rose did not hold back with her retort.

From there they were off, Rose repeatedly shutting Morgan down as he attempted to denigrate her idea of feminism and imply that instead of raising awareness for her nonprofit, her photo choice was really nothing more than a desperate cry for attention.

“If famous men started posting naked photos to social media claiming it was to ‘promote male empowerment’, they’d be jailed,” Morgan tweeted, sharing a shirtless ad he had done for Burger King labeling it, “in the name of male empowerment” to make his somewhat warped point.

“So you got naked for a Burger King check and ur giving me a hard time?” Rose clapped back. While the argument eventually stalled, Rose repeatedly asked Morgan to invite her to appear on his show so that they could hash things out in real time claiming there was ‘no love lost’ and he was entitled to his own opinions; whether or not she believes those opinions to be correct is another matter entirely.

Read the full story at Mashable.


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Amber Rose’s Los Angeles ‘SlutWalk’ meets with a mixed reaction

Piers Morgan mansplains PTSD to Lady Gaga, prompting offer from singer to ‘educate’ him

'Fake news'

Masih Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online community devoted to fighting the compulsory hijab in Iran, has become the target of a vicious smear campaign on social media that suggests she had been raped. Four years ago, after launching her now wildly popular Facebook page, Iranian state TV ran a fake story suggesting that, while under the influence of drugs in London, Alinejad had taken off her clothes and was raped by three men in front of her son. However, according to Alinejad, “nothing even remotely close to this had ever happened,” she wrote in a 2014 opinion piece for Time describing her ordeal. In recent weeks the ugly fabrication has resurfaced through social media apps such as Instagram and Telegram (a messaging app similar to WhatsApp).

Alinejad believes this new social media smear campaign is in retaliation for a new campaign she launched, called White Wednesdays. In order to protest compulsory hijab, she called on women to wear white headscarves on Wednesdays and men to wear white shirts or wristbands — and the response has been overwhelming.

“Because these days Instagram and Telegram are so popular in Iran, websites close to the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards are spreading the fake news that I was raped,” Alinejad explained in an email to Women in the World. “They are using the old fake news of four years ago but implying that I was raped recently. These fake news sites would not be operating without approval of and blessing from powerful elements within the Islamic Republic — such as the Revolutionary Guards. This attack on me is officially sanctioned.” Alinejad capture screen shots of the postings, each of which had thousands of likes — some of them tens of thousands — before Instagram was able to remove them. Below are two.

According to Alinejad, the implicit, “disgusting and shameful” threat behind the spread these spurious stories is that she, or other women who object to compulsory hijab, could be targeted with rape as a consequence of their political stances. At the same time, the campaign is aimed at shaming her and ruining her reputation. “In Iran, as in many cultures, if a woman is raped, the society blames her,” Alinejad wrote. “If I’m raped, then it must have been my fault.” Nevertheless, the courageous activist is fighting back, calling on the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iran and Amnesty International to condemn these vile attacks. She has also reported the offending posts to Instagram, which has taken them down for violating their “community guidelines for harassment,” but warned her that they unfortunately “may reappear in a different format or by a different person so you might want to watch for them and continue reporting them.”


Harrowing videos provide a peek inside Iran morality police vehicles

Iranian women take big risks to share ‘illegal’ videos of their ‘ordinary’ lives

Iranian news agency Photoshops more clothing onto Oscars footage of Charlize Theron

‘Basic value’

On Monday, the Norwegian government announced its intentions to ban all face-covering veils — both burqas and niqabs — in all educational institutions including kindergartens, schools, and universities across the country. The decision follows in the wake of several other European countries including France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium, which have instituted similar bans on veils worn in public spaces.

“Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value,” said Per Sandberg, the government’s acting Minister of Immigration and Integration. If the new legislation is accepted, Norway will be the first country to apply the veil ban to both children and adults. Employees and students who wear the veil despite such a ban would risk termination from their jobs and being expelled from school, Sandberg said.

Read the full story at Reuters.


Germany may implement ban of full face veils amid spate of violent attacks

Ukip leadership candidate says banning veil would make Muslim women more British

Republic of Congo bans full face veils in public


Last week, as Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial got underway, the disgraced 79-year-old comedian was accompanied by Keshia Knight Pulliam, his TV daughter from The Cosby Show, on his way into court. Cosby’s wife, Camille, was nowhere to be seen. But on Monday, as Cosby’s defense team opened its case before the jury after the prosecution rested its case on Friday, Camille Cosby escorted her husband into a Pennsylvania courtroom for the sixth day of his trial. It’s the first time she’s made an appearance at the trial. The two have been married for more than 50 years, according to PEOPLE.

Nearly as quickly as defense lawyers opened their case on Monday, they abruptly closed it. All told, the defense mounted to just six minutes as lawyers called one witness, according to The Associated Press. Cosby elected not to take the witness stand in his own defense. He spoke in court answering yes and no questions to confirm that he was aware of his right to testify and that he had not been coerced into the decision to not testify.

There had been considerable speculation about whether Cosby would be called to testify. One of Cosby’s attorneys on Friday signaled the comedian could take the stand — a sign, legal experts say, that would indicate they think the trial is not going his way.

The one witness who did make it to the stand was Detective Richard Schaffer, who led the 2005 investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Cosby by Andrea Constand. During Shaffer’s brief testimony, he told the court that Constand had visited with Cosby at an out-of-state casino and that police knew he had vision problems more than a decade ago. Cosby maintains that he is legally blind as a result of glaucoma. The judge rejected a second witness the defense team intended to call, at which point lawyers for Cosby abruptly rested their case.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Bill Cosby’s accuser takes witness stand at sexual assault trial

Bill Cosby arrives at court for 1st day of sexual assault trial with TV daughter by his side

Rough draft

A family leave plan outlined in Donald Trump’s budget proposal suggested six-weeks paid time-off for all new mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents. But according to The Associated Press, the White House is open to revising the policy, and Ivanka Trump recently met with a bipartisan group of experts to discuss possible amendments.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of and adviser to the President, has been advocating for federally-mandated family leave since her father hit the campaign trail. The proposal currently on the table requires states to finance paid leave through unemployment insurance programs, and by adjusting their tax structures — which would in turn result in higher taxes on businesses.

Democrats and Republicans alike have raised concerns about placing such a financial burden on states, and some critics have pointed out that the plan does not include any benefits for those who care for sick relatives.

In the face of such criticism, Trump participated in a meeting to discuss potential improvements. “She said that [the plan] was just a placeholder or a stake in the ground and they’re open to other ideas,” Isabel Sawhill, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who presented Trump with an alternative proposal, told the AP.

No matter what form the plan takes, it will likely face an uphill battle on its journey through Republican-led Congress. This is the first time that a Republican administration has proposed a paid family leave policy, and many within the party favor curtailing government intervention. On Monday morning, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox & Friends for a lengthy interview during which a host of topics were discussed. However, during the nearly 13-minute conversation, the first daughter and special advisor to the president barely discussed women’s issues, only glossing over the disparity of women and men working in STEM fields, and not even talking about paid family leave at all. Watch part one and part two of that interview.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Jane Goodall responds to Ivanka Trump’s use of her quote in new book

Ivanka Trump seems to put forth ‘divergent viewpoint’ from that of her father’s on Syria refugee crisis

Scarlett Johansson finds Ivanka Trump ‘old fashioned, uninspired, and cowardly’

Reproductive wrong

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed off on a wide-ranging anti-abortion bill that some say flies in the face of a federal court order.

According to the The Huffington Post, Senate Bill 8 (or SB8) collapses an array of abortion rights. For example, the bill bans dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, a safe method that is often used during second trimester abortions. Pregnancies are only infrequently terminated after the first trimester — just 11 percent of all abortions are performed after the 12th week — but by banning D&E, Texas has effectively outlawed second-trimester abortions.

Physicians face up to two years in prison if they perform a criminalized procedure. But because the Texas legislature rejected an amendment that would limit the scope of people who can be prosecuted under the law, the bill may make it possible to prosecute anyone helping a woman obtain a now-illegal abortion — like friends or family members who drive a woman to a clinic.

The law also prohibits women from donating fetal tissue for the purposes of scientific research, and stipulates that medical facilities must bury or cremate female remains. The latter point is particularly thorny because the Texas federal court deemed a similar provision unconstitutional.

Last year, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services proposed a mandate that would require health care providers to cremate or bury fetuses. Abortion providers sued, arguing that such a provision would impose an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, since it would drive up the cost of the procedure. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks agreed. In his ruling blocking the mandate, Judge Sparks wrote that the rule would allow the department “to exercise arbitrary, and potentially discriminatory, enforcement on an issue connected to abortion.”

SB8 is disconcertingly similar to the rejected Department of Health and Human Services proposal. “Yes, the regulation was enacted legislatively rather than through an agency, but that makes no difference to the constitutional analysis,” writes Mark Joseph Stern in Slate. “The basic fact remains that, with SB8, Texas passed a law that has already been blocked by a judge.”


Author Margaret Atwood equates Texas law restricting abortion access to modern slavery

Arizona teen Deja Foxx heads to Washington in defense of Planned Parenthood

Christian abortion doctor says he is ‘doing God’s work’


Earlier this month, a Palestinian family was involved in a deadly car crash in Hebron. The father was killed, and the mother was critically injured. The couple’s 9-month-old son Yamen emerged with only minor injuries, but because his mother was incapacitated, he had no one to nurse him, as NBC’s Today show reports.

While in a Jerusalem hospital, Yamen’s aunts watched helplessly as the baby cried for hours, refusing to take a bottle. Then an Israeli nursed named Ola Ostrowski-Zak stepped in. Ostrowski-Zak is the mother of an 18-month-old boy, and when she saw Yamen crying, she began to breastfeed him.

Once the child was fed and soothed, Yamen’s aunts reportedly hugged the nurse and said they didn’t think any other Jewish woman would have offered to feed a Palestinian baby. “I was emotional about this sad assumption,” Ostrowski-Zak told the Today show. “I know any Jewish mother would have done the same.”

There is truth to her words. Ostrowski-Zak posted on an Israeli Facebook page, asking for volunteers to feed little Yamen. She received more than one thousand responses, with women offering to drive as far as 70 miles to help the baby.

Read more at Today.


Hospital struggles to live up to promise of promoting Israeli-Palestinian relations

Video shows Israelis and Palestinians kissing in book-ban protest

Palestinian men seen protecting Israeli policewoman from violence in viral photo are called ‘traitors’

Designated purpose?

It’s been a turbulent few weeks at Uber. The company recently fired 20 employees implicated in a sexual harassment investigation, canned another person for sharing the medical records of a rape victim, and ignited a hullabaloo over the use of in-office lactation rooms.

The nursing-related nightmare began when Arianna Huffington, a board member at Uber, revealed that CEO Travis Kalanick used company lactation rooms to meditate. “Literally, it was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and he said, ‘I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now,’” Huffington said. “And literally [he] went into a lactation room that happened to be open, because they [Uber] don’t have meditation rooms yet. This is part of the change coming.”

Huffington made the comment to highlight Kalanick’s measured leadership qualities, but people were quick to point out that lactating rooms are designated spaces for women who need to breastfeed, and not for CEO’s in need of some zen.

The Guardian asked several women about their experiences with co-workers who usurp office lactating spaces, and their responses were … interesting. One woman said her CEO often used the lactation room to make phone calls, while another revealed that a female colleague used the space to put on makeup. But the executive who was caught having sex with an intern in a lactation room arguably takes the cake.


Uber fires more than 20 employees amid sexual harassment investigation

Photo of artist ‘tandem breastfeeding’ while working on laptop inspires moms