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Jul 10
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‘People like pretty’

The mayor of Broummana, Lebanon, is deploying young attractive policewomen dressed in shorts this summer as part of a plan to attract media interest and boost the town’s income from tourism. The mayor’s plan is definitely drawing attention from the media, but also a fair share of criticism for the policy being sexist.

“Ninety-nine percent of the tourists in the Mediterranean region wear shorts,” Mayor Pierre Achkar told RT. “We in Lebanon want to change the bleak picture of Lebanon in the West.”

“It could be sexy for some people or ordinary. It depends on your education,” he added in comments made to BBC News. “It’s pretty. People like pretty. Do you want them ugly? Everything is changing in the world. At a certain time, wearing jeans was vulgar. Women are free: sexy or not sexy, it’s a free country.”

While Achkar insists that “everybody is happy” with his eccentric initiative, locals in the town and people across the world online have complained that the uniforms are inappropriate and encourage the objectification of women. Male officers, they note, are not forced to comply with the short shorts requirement.

When the officers were questioned by reporters from the BBC, however, the women said that they enjoyed the work, and rejected the notion that wearing shorts inherently sexualized them.

‘The municipality asked us to do this job — it’s something new to show that Lebanon is like the rest of the world. Why not wear shorts?” said one of the new officers. “We’re all university students. We’re all of age — we are all in our twenties and above.”

“We are wearing long shorts, we’re not exhibiting our legs. I took this job because I always wear shorts, so I don’t have to change for work,” added another.

One local shop owner said the summer wardrobe requirement was being blown out of proportion. Elie Mosawer told Almas Dar News that “People are over-analyzing this issue, they are giving it way more attention than it deserves. All these ladies are respectable.” He emphasized that “everybody wears shorts! It’s not a big deal. And it’s not too short even. Fine, it’s all right, it’s summer, it’s hot!”

Watch the BBC’s interview with the young women police officers below.

Read the full story at RT.

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‘It’s over’

A long nightmare is over for one woman in England after she dodged a 13-year period of harassment from a man she met online.

According to The Week, Lindsey Goldrick Dean met Paul Curran in 2004 through the dating classifieds on The Guardian (long predating this era of Tinder and Bumble), and when she broke up with him after a few dates in February 2005, he engaged in what her lawyer called “civil harassment.”

This included establishing 10 websites containing images and offensive content about her, creating Twitter accounts in her name, and directly harassing Dean and her family and friends through calls and emails over the years, reported BBC News. He even bought Google ads so when people searched her name, they would be directed to the sites, The Week reported.

The websites contained all manner of “malicious content,” Dean explained in an interview with Claudia-Liza Arma, an anchor for England’s 5News. “They included private and confidential information. Embellished emails — emails from me to him that you presume you’ve got a level of privacy there. There was also a lot of sexual content added, untruths. Photographs. Also, there was a picture of my lipstick blotting and strands of my hair.”

Despite her complaints to police, Curran wasn’t living in the U.K. and couldn’t be arrested until Dean brought legal action against him 12 years into the saga.

The High Court in London awarded Dean undisclosed damages and Curran was ordered to pay her legal costs. He also apologized for the “considerable upset” he caused.

The verdict could have long-term effects on cases of a similar nature involving online harassment. “I hope to give hope to other people because there is help out there,” said Dean.

Meanwhile, Curran is the director of his own consultancy firm. Wonder what his own Google search results look like now?

Read the full story at BBC News.

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‘Branding’

The future of popular online retailer Feminist Apparel — and its founder, Alan Martofel — is in question after Martofel reportedly fired nine out of company’s 10 permanent staff members in apparent retaliation for confronting him over his history of sexual misconduct. In a Tumblr post that has since gone viral, former Feminist Apparel employees explained that they had been only recently been made aware of a Facebook post published by Martofel in 2013 in which he wrote that his prior indiscretions with women — including instances where he “grinded up on women on buses and at concerts without their consent” and “put a woman’s hand on my dick while she was sleeping” — had inspired him to become a better person and to found his then-fledgling clothing brand.

According to the retailer’s former employees, “all of whom identify as women, people of color, and/or queer people,” they confronted Martofel with their discovery and accused him of “presenting a false narrative for the purpose of branding the company” and “exploiting the very population he admitted to abusing.”

“We told him that he did not deserve to run this company and was unfit to do so,” they wrote. “He had broken our trust beyond repair by omitting the truth about his history of sexual assault despite numerous opportunities to let us know.”

An example of one of the T-shirts for sale on the Feminist Apparel website.

During that meeting, the former employees said that Martofel initially admitted to past “non-consensual sexual activity” and promised to step away from the company so as to not become a liability to its success. But as he mulled the situation over, the former employees wrote, he apparently had a change of heart — opting to simply fire them all instead. The only justification they were given for their firing, they said, was that it was “due to transitions the company is currently undertaking.”

Martofel has since defended the firings in a blog post of his own, writing that his former employees had informed him that they “do not share my views on either business or feminism” and that the realization had led him, “after much deliberation, and in accordance with both state law and our employee handbook, [to make] the difficult decision to proceed without them.” In a statement given to Refinery29, he added that “this entire situation has been sad and difficult, and I’m going to continue needing to take time to reflect on it further before I’ll be ready to say more.”

Read the full story at The New York Daily News.

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‘It’s not easy’

Just days after making an emotional post to social media about having missed her 10-month-old daughter’s first steps while training, Serena Williams, 36, punched her way through to the Wimbledon semifinals on Tuesday with a difficult comeback victory over Camila Giorgi of Italy. Seeking her first major title since giving birth to baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September, Williams was composed despite falling a set down early to the shotmaking Italian, and rallied to a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win over the upstart challenger. But in a post to Twitter on Saturday, Williams was openly distraught after learning that Alexis had taken her first steps while her mother was out practicing.

Remarkably, Williams’ admission prompted an outpouring of support from other mothers who comforted the all-time tennis great and shared stories about times they missed important firsts with their own children as well.

“I missed a bunch of firsts while I was at work. I hear ya, mama. It’s not easy,” wrote Twitter user Raakhee Mirchandani in a reply to Williams. “But our girls see us out there grinding + living our dreams and that’s got to mean something. Good luck in London — my daughter and I are both rooting for you.”

“I’m a housewife and was in the next room and I missed it. With both of the twins,” added another user named wondermom. “Please don’t feel bad. Be happy for her and be ready for the running after her.”

As the day went on, mother after mother chimed in with words of love and encouragement alongside retellings of their experiences. Almost without exception, they counseled Williams that so long as she loved her daughter — and herself — things would turn out just fine for both of them.

Williams, evidently, is more than strong enough to weather the emotional and practical challenges of motherhood without it detracting from her quest for her 40th Grand Slam title. With only one match between her and the final, she will next face off against 13th-seeded Julian Georges of Germany.

Below, watch a highlight of Williams clinching her match over Giorgi.

Read the full story at Today.

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Double-take

Tomi Lahren loves a sound bite, particularly the variety that are meant to instigate liberals, but every now and then she drops some sound bites that anger conservatives, like when she was reportedly banned by a conservative TV network for deviating from the conservative playbook and saying she’s pro-choice. Now, she’s echoing that sentiment.

The controversial 25-year-old talk show host recently weighed in on Roe v. Wade in light of President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, who will have the power to influence the court — and possibly overturn the landmark decision to decriminalize abortion. In a “Final Thoughts” segment on Fox News over the weekend, Lahren said that trying to overturn the 1973 case would divide the nation and probably fail, reports The Huffington Post.

She has a point: A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows that American voters agree 63 – 31 percent that abortion should remain legal. There is even agreement between the genders on this issue with men 61 – 32 percent in favor of keeping abortion legal, and women in favor by a margin of 65 – 30 percent, the poll showed.

“We lose when we start tampering with social issues,” she said. “Do we really want to fight for this, alienate Democrats, moderates and Libertarians all to lose in the end anyway? That’s a risk that I don’t think is worth taking.”

She added that while she would “personally choose life,” it’s ultimately “not the government’s place to dictate.” “This isn’t a black and white issue and I would never judge anyone in that position,” Lahren said.

This wasn’t the first time Lahren waded into murky waters. She was previously suspended by her former employer, conservative media network The Blaze, for making pro-choice comments during an appearance on The View. She settled a lawsuit against Blaze founder Glenn Beck last year.

Of course, she also told people to feel free to disagree with her over on Twitter — and many of her conservative fans have. It remains to be seen whether she’ll continue speaking up — about this topic, at least.

Watch her remarks below.

 

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.

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‘Unreal’

Sometimes, Miss America really does miss a beat. Not everyone is happy with the changes to the decades-old pageant, including the removal of the competition’s swimsuit category, and the controversy seems to be playing out at the state level, resulting in a tone-deaf joke that has prompted on contestant to turn in her crown.

At the final round of the Miss Massachusetts competition earlier this month, a sketch was performed that the Observer reported went like this: “We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting,” a woman said on stage. “And I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.” “Me too, Amy,” replied a person dressed as God, holding up a #MeToo sign.

While Miss America is the final stop, all contestants must first compete and win a title at the state level, where most of the competitions still do have a swimsuit competition.

Much of the crowd reportedly applauded, but others were said to be shocked — including one of the participants.

Maude Gorman resigned from her title of Miss Plymouth County 2018 after witnessing the off-color crack from backstage, CNN reports. She explained why in a post on Instagram:

“While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply ‘let this go.'”

View this post on Instagram

Today, I officially resigned from the title of Miss Plymouth County 2018. While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply “let this go”. Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING. #metoo #missplymouthcounty #nomore #rainn #surviveandthrive

A post shared by Maude (@maudernliving) on

As a survivor of gang rape at age 13, Gorman told CNN that she knew she had to do something when she heard the remark or “it was going to eat away at me if I didn’t.” Her pageant days appear to be over, and she told CNN “I don’t see myself competing again. I am happy with leaving the pageant world behind me.” Gorman is also a teacher and a volunteer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. In an interview with WCVB local news, Gorman elaborated, saying, “My heart dropped and I knew I had to take a step back away from the crown.” She added, “I didn’t want this little joke, this little skit — even if people think it’s a small thing, it’s not. It’s huge and survivors deserved to have their voices heard, understood and taken seriously.”

The Miss Massachusetts organization later apologized on Facebook, saying that the skit was not in the script and was not authorized by its board of directors. Still, it revealed some of the loaded sentiments behind a competition so steeped in tradition.

To hear more from Gorman, including her telling the story of being raped on a play ground when she was a child, watch the video below.

Read the full story at CNN.

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‘Aunt Iva’

Iva Olivari, the first woman to manage the Croatian national soccer team and one of the only women sitting on any team’s bench during this year’s World Cup, is advocating for better representation of women in the men’s game — off the field, not on it. Olivari, a former top tennis player who became the women’s champion in Croatia and the former Balkan country of Yugoslavia at just 14, has worked for the Croatian Football Federation since 1992. During that time — and especially following her promotion to manager of the national team in 2012 — she says she’s had to face more than her fair share of detractors.

“I have not been discriminated against, but I have heard some remarks like, ‘She should not be there, it would be better if it was a man,’ and ‘He would probably do it better, she doesn’t know much about football,’ and stuff like that. But I don’t care about these remarks,” she told AFP.

What she does care about, she says, are that the players are satisfied with her work managing the team.

“The guys are fantastic. I love them a lot and they respect me. With the older ones I have a sister-brother relationship, because of age. But now the youngest ones already call me Aunt,” Olivari reportedly told several European outlets.

Beyond her work, she added, she hopes to see more women follow in her footsteps by getting involved in the sport on the business side. “We don’t have to play football to be represented in football,” she explained. “We can do a lot of different things that have any kind of connection, or that have something do with administration, with management of the players, with transfer of players. There’s a lot of stuff that women can do to help and improve the development of football.”

Delegate Silvia Dorschnerova can be seen alongside Fernando Hierro, Head coach of Spain, as they try to stop an argument between both benches after a VAR decision during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Spain and Morocco at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 25, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Olivari is not the only woman on the sidelines at the 2018 World Cup. Returning for what the sports website Goal reports is her fifth World Cup is Silvia Dorschnerova, who serves as a delegate for Spain’s national team. According to Goal, as a delegate, Dorschnerova is responsible for informing the fourth referee of the personnel changes the team’s coach makes throughout a game. When games aren’t being played, Dorschnerova serves as a liaison between Spain’s coaching staff and FIFA. According to a 2010 profile by the BBC, Dorschnerova is “like the mother of the players” due to her uncanny ability to create bonds with and nurture them.

Watch video of Olivari’s interview with AFP below.

Read the full story at Kienyke.

CORRECTION: An earlier headline and version of this story indicated Olivari is the only woman serving on the bench of a men’s World Cup team. Silvia Dorschnerova, a delegate for Spain’s national team, is one the sidelines as well.

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‘Not so Guten’

What’s a country to do when gender bias is so deep it’s apparently embedded in the national language?

Well, speak up, to start.

Germany is being thrust into the gender equality debate, but not for the reasons you might think. While the #MeToo movement has found its way to the fatherland, there’s one little issue — over the not-so-little fact that the country’s called the “fatherland.”

The German language possesses plenty of quirks and long-held practices that many woman and advocacy groups are now saying are sexist. Take, for example, a simple job description. In German, there are male and female nouns for certain professions. Job listings will often only list the male noun, which some are saying is exclusionary and reinforces the gender gap in the workplace.

The predominance of male nouns describing job openings means “girls often have a hard time imagining that they’re also being sought out,” Luise Pusch, a German linguist specializing in feminist speech told USA Today. “They’re not only being shut out grammatically, but also through their own image of this profession.”

This isn’t just minor quibbling over linguistics. The numbers bear out the complaints. Germany’s gender pay gap is a big one: According to government statistics, women are paid 21 percent less than men (only slightly worse that the U.S. pay gap, for those counting). And women’s pensions average only about half that of men, according to a 2017 study—the biggest discrepancy of the 37 countries analyzed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel shrugged off calls to replace the word ‘fatherland’ in Germany’s national anthem earlier this year. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Activists have tried taking their fight all the way to the top, with mixed results. Germany’s Council for Orthography, which sets rules for spelling and grammar, squashed a highly anticipated debate about the male-female discrepancy, writes USA Today.

One might think Chancellor Angela Merkel would jump into the fray, but in March, she pooh-poohed calls to make the national anthem gender-neutral by changing a reference from “fatherland” to the less-specific “homeland.”

“The chancellor is very happy with our nice national anthem as it is in its traditional form and doesn’t see any need for change,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said during a news conference at the time, as reported by Reuters. (Meanwhile, Austria changed its own gender-skewed anthem — also sung in German — back in 2012.)

Among all the battles women are fighting today, rallying against a word or two might seem minor. But, of course, what people say — and the language they use to say it — isn’t so minor at all. Besides, majoring in the minors is how revolutions get started.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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'Binding precedent'

President Donald Trump on Monday evening ended the national suspense in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing his impending retirement and revealed his nominee to succeed the 30-year veteran of the high court: federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Though many hot-button issues have surrounded Trump’s eventual pick for the Supreme Court, one of the chief concerns of many, particularly feminists, is the impact Trump’s nominee, his second pick for the nation’s top court since taking office in January 2017, could have on the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.

So, where exactly does Kavanaugh, 53, stand on the issue? It’s impossible to know exactly what’s inside his head. And Kavanaugh, as he referenced in his speech several times Monday night, is a member of the Catholic Church, a religion that forbids abortion. On top of all of that, his public record and history of legal rulings on Roe v. Wade and, more broadly, abortion rights, has been rather sparse, NBC News points out. But there are a couple of clues out there.

One of the clearest pictures we can get on his thinking about Roe v. Wade comes from his confirmation hearing in 2006, where he was grilled by senators before being confirmed to the D.C. court of appeals. During that hearing, Senator Chuck Schumer questioned Kavanaugh point-blank on the topic.

“Do you consider Roe v. Wade to be an abomination?” Schumer asked.

“If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully,” Kavanaugh responded at the time. “That would be binding precedent of the Court. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.”

Schumer then clarified, telling Kavanaugh he was interested in the judge’s personal opinion.

Kavanaugh demurred. “And I’m saying if I were confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, senator, I would follow it. It’s been affirmed many times, including in Planned Parenthood versus –”

“I understand,” Schumer interjected, “but what is your opinion? You’re not on the bench yet.”

“The Supreme Court has held repeatedly, senator, and I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to give a personal view of that case,” Kavanaugh replied.

“OK, not going to answer the question,” Schumer said.

One other clue may come from his participation in a prominent case last year, in which Kavanaugh’s appeals court ruled that an undocumented teen immigrant, who was pregnant, could temporarily leave government custody to undergo an abortion. He dissented on that case, but not on the grounds that the girl didn’t have a right to an abortion. He acknowledged that she did, but, according to NBC News, said the teen was not entitled to “an immediate abortion on demand.”

Below, watch the clip from 2006 of Schumer grilling Kavanaugh on Roe v. Wade.

Read the full story at NBC News

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07.10.18

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