Jul 12
Her eye on the news
Conduct unbecoming

In what appears to be a deliberate and direct continuation of the now defunct Marines United page, on which male Army personnel shared explicit videos and photos of female servicemembers, a Facebook group has begun re-uploading Marine United’s old content — as well as adding new photos and videos to its archive. In the private Facebook group Mike Uniform, which, in U.S. military phonetic alphabet stands for M.U., the abbreviation for Marines United, a Dropbox drive of 3,863 photos and videos allegedly of female servicemembers was shared to the group by a user named Chad Baumes.

Baumes, a former Marine corporal who served from 1997 to 2001, admitted to The Daily Beast that he was part of the Mike Uniform group, but claimed that he didn’t “remember posting [the shared drive].” According to Baumes, who allegedly posted the drive link last Friday alongside the message, “Ywfms” — an abbreviation for “You’re welcome for my service” — his account had been hacked last week but he regained control of the account over the weekend.

After the drive resurfaced, Mike Uniform posters thanked Baumes for sharing the explicit content and even asked for images of specific female service members by name.

“Some familiar faces on there hahahaha,” wrote one M.U. member under the username Garrett Malone. “Who’s got the Erica pics?” Erica, in this case, was likely a reference to Marine veteran Erika Butner, who had contacted NCIS and publicly spoken out against the group after she discovered her photo had been posted there without her consent.

Malone, a former Marine infantryman, blocked Daily Beast reporters Rory Laverty and James Laporta from contacting him after they asked about the comments made under his name in Mike Uniform.

On June 29, an unnamed enlisted Marine was convicted at court-martial for his role in the original Marines United scandal. The Marine, who pled guilty, was sentenced to 10 days in the brig, issued a fine, and was demoted three ranks, the Marine Corps announced on Monday. Speaking to The Daily Beast, Marine Maj. Clark Carpenter said that NCIS investigators had reviewed “nearly 131,000 images across 168 social media sites” and identified “89 persons of interest as a result of incidents related to the non-consensual sharing of explicit photos.”

In spite of the spotlight being shined by media and military investigators, the explicit photos have continued to be shared on Snapchat and on shared drives across Facebook. The Daily Beast has reportedly uncovered 11 shared drives containing images from the original Marines United page. The recently discovered Mike Uniform drive was removed on Monday, either by law enforcement officials or by group members hoping to move the content to another account.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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'Fight like a girl'

In London, Pro-Wrestling: EVE — “a secret underground feminist, political, socialist, humanist, punk rock wrestling promotion, for those who identify as women and non-binary folk,” is re-imagining the classically hyper-masculine environment of ‘professional’ wrestling. According to EVE founder Emily Read, the wrestling promotion’s focus is on empowering women — both physically, and politically.

“It’s so conditioned in women to be quiet and small,” said Read. “It’s a real hindrance when it comes to wrestling. And I see women learn to be big and loud and take up space.”

With taglines such as “fight like a girl,” “smash the patriarchy,” “f**k gender roles,” and “follow your f**king dreams,” EVE promotional materials highlight girl power in and out of the ring. After Donald Trump shared a doctored video of his appearance at a WWE wrestling event — with his opponent’s face replaced by an image of the CNN logo — EVE responded by printing out T-shirts featuring a female wrestler piledriving a man with Donald Trump’s likeness. According to the group’s website, the shirt, which is up for re-issue due to popular demand and features the slogan, “Piledrive a fascist,” had helped EVE to lose all “the customers we didn’t want in the first place.”

Meanwhile in Hollywood, the new Netflix series GLOW — a fictional retelling of how real-life 1980s wrestling TV series Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling came to be — is also taking a closer look at classic pro-wrestling stereotypes. Despite the show’s ostensive premise of showcasing “gorgeous ladies,” the series focuses on the way the women learn to unleash their physicality and ultimately win over supporters with hard-won wrestling talent — as opposed to their physical appearance alone, Tom Phillips observes in a piece for The Conversation. Featuring Alison Brie as Ruth, a struggling actress who pursues wrestling in order to pay rent, the story follows a group of Los Angeles woman as they learn to wrestle with help from Cherry Bang, played by Sydelle Noel, a black woman who serves as the women’s wrestling trainer.

“We’re empowered,” Cherry tells her wrestlers in one scene. “We’re the heroes.”

Watch the trailer for GLOW below.

Read the full story at The Conversation.


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On Tuesday, philanthropist Melinda Gates stood before the audience at her London summit for international family planning and called for change — specifically that contraception and the broad application of family planning education and services be made a global priority. Already having raised $1.5 billion in financial commitments from countries in Africa and Asia, Gates’s message is more pertinent than ever.

President Trump recently announced his intentions to end both funding to the U.N. Population Fund which deals with global health and reproductive services as well as reinstate the Mexico City policy, which requires NGOs to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” in order to receive federal funding. Trump’s current plan is to expand the parameters of the policy, restricting NGO’s further receiving foreign funding as well and further hindering their ability to perform safe, legal abortions. Gates said on Tuesday that she is “deeply troubled” by the planned cuts.

“If empowering women is more than just rhetoric for the president, he will prove it by funding family planning,” Gates said. She added that she believes contraceptives are “one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations the world has ever known” and access to birth control bolsters the world economy as it allows women to work and helps control the size of families. As one of the beneficiaries of birth control, Gates understands the advantages all too well. “My family, my career, my life as I know it are because I had access to … contraceptives.” Current estimates suggest that providing adequate family planning services could help avoid 67 million unwanted pregnancies and save the lives of more than 76,000 women.

Read the full story at Reuters.


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Quick work

And he says he did it in 30 minutes. Last week, the producers behind a History Channel documentary created a worldwide commotion when they came forward with what was billed as a newly-discovered and never-before-seen photo that might show Amelia Earhart, and perhaps prove that she survived that fateful 1937 flight. But Kota Yamano, a Japanese history blogger, has thrown a sobering bucket of cold water on the claim. He told The Guardian it took him about 30 minutes of research to get to the bottom of the true provenance of the photo at the center of the documentary’s hypothesis. Yamano discovered the photo that purported to show the pioneering aviator in the archives of Japan’s national library and revealed his findings in a post on his personal blog.

Turns out, the photograph had been published in a travel book in 1935 — two years before Earhart set out on her epic journey. “I have never believed the theory that Earhart was captured by the Japanese military, so I decided to find out for myself,” a skeptical Yamano told The Guardian. “I was sure that the same photo must be on record in Japan.” Sure enough, it was — and now the History Channel has reportedly deployed a team of investigators to look into. The Earhart mystery, which constantly tantalizes the imaginations of many, once again seems poised to remain unsolved. Meanwhile Yamano suggests the hype surrounding the photo never should’ve been stirred up by the documentary producers and he marvels at “the first thing they should have done” but didn’t.

Read the full story at Newser.


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Body shaming

A blog post by 27-year-old Laura Warren, a news anchor in Augusta, Georgia, has gone viral after the reporter shared a voicemail, which can be heard here, that she’d received from a viewer. The cruel woman caller told Warren that her pregnant body was “disgusting” to see on TV.

“Please go to Target and buy some decent maternity clothes so you don’t walk around looking like you got a watermelon strapped under your too tight outfits,” the caller told Warren. “Target’s got a great line of maternity clothes in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. You’re getting to where you’re being disgusting on the TV.”

In Warren’s blog post, she admitted that she was unable to “stop thinking” about the call.

“Do I really look disgusting? What outfit is she talking about? Why did she call on Friday, I wasn’t even working Friday … did she boil over this all week and wait until I was off to leave me a voicemail?” wrote Warren. “Oh crap, am I tearing up at my desk? NOT here. And, NOT over this. This lady doesn’t deserve to get a rise out of me. Does she know that I’m wearing maternity clothes? What does she want me to wear, a moo moo from the 50s? Does she know this is 2017? WHY DID SHE CALL ME?! And, why can I not stop thinking about this?!”

In wake of the call, Warren told ABC News, she had gone through the station’s archives to review her past outfits, but had been unable to find any that could have been construed as offensive. Fortunately, Warren added that she had received a veritable flood of positive and supportive responses in response to her post. The experience, she said, was a good lesson on “how easy it is for us all to hang on and dwell on that one negative comment, instead of a whole sea of positive ones.”

“I think the reason I’ve received such kind feedback is because it struck a nerve with so many women who have felt these same insecurities,” Warren explained to ABC News. “And, not just women. Husbands, fathers, friends, and family of women who have been pregnant and received some sort of criticism about their looks.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.


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‘Dangerous’ rhetoric

A lot of people weren’t happy when President Donald Trump had his daughter Ivanka sit in for him during a G20 Summit meeting, but MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh went a little further than in her criticism, faulting the first daughter, who’s also a special adviser to the president, for wearing a “girly” dress while doing so. “I don’t mean to sound sexist — it can be dangerous to comment on what women wear — but the fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms,” Walsh said. “And I think that what we see is that in patriarchal, authoritarian societies, daughters have great value — they are property. And the message that she is sending about her own value, about her place in the White House, and about the place of women in this administration, I think, are really frightening.”

Sensing that controversy was brewing, host Thomas Roberts asked if she wasn’t opening herself up to a backlash with those comments, which many would see as a not particularly feminist position. Walsh persisted. “That’s not a dress that’s made for work. That’s not a dress that’s made to go out in the world and make a difference. That is a dress that is designed to show off your girlyness, and, you know, God bless her, show it off, but don’t then tell us that you’re crusading for an equal place for women at the table because you’re not.”

In a column for The Independent this week, Grace Dent pointed out the difficulty — or the danger, as Walsh alluded to — in being a feminist and vocally criticizing Ivanka Trump, who fancies herself a feminist. Dent wondered if criticizing the first daughter makes one a “bad feminist.” She wrote, “The greatest problem with criticizing Ivanka is that she positions herself as a sharp-elbowed feminist with her own girl power-based entrepreneurial website, and the grit to sit on a W20 women’s empowerment summit panel with Christine Lagarde. Jeer and scowl at her if you like, but Ivanka Trump and her fans will not take this lying down.”

Read the full story and see video of Walsh’s remarks at Mediaite.


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