Naked Feminism: In support of Amina Tyler

Women’s bodies are battlegrounds, socially, commercially and internationally. Femen is posing (pun intended) the idea they can also be weapons… just by being (and exposing) women’s bodies.

An activist of the Communist Youth Organization alongside women's right movement Femen gestures as she protests topless outside the Tunisian embassy in Stockholm on April 4, 2013.(JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

An activist of the Communist Youth Organization alongside women’s right movement Femen gestures as she protests topless outside the Tunisian embassy in Stockholm on April 4, 2013.(JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Below is an article reprinted in its entirety from http://www.policymic.com/articles/30856/amina-tyler-tunisian-girl-outrages-islamic-authority-with-nude-facebook-photos

You can read more articles on the FEMEN support of Tyler, including coverage of the April 4th protests which were dubbed a “topless jihad” at our sister blog: http://sluts4socialism.wordpress.com.

Amina Tyler: Tunisian Girl Outrages Islamic Authority With Nude Facebook Photos

A Tunisian girl is faced with criminal charges after posting a naked photo of herself on Facebook.

“My body belongs to me, and is not a source of anyone’s honor,” stated Amina Tyler, the 19-year-old founder of the Tunisian branch of FEMEN, an international feminist organization, which started in Ukraine.

Her actions immediately elicited death threats from Adel Almi, a prominent Islamic cleric, who told the Tunisian daily, Assabah News, that this young woman, according to Islamic law, deserves between 80 and 100 lashes, but because of the seriousness of her actions, should be stoned to death.

“This young woman, for her actions, could bring misfortune and provoke epidemics and catastrophes,” said Almi, the President of Al-Jamia Al-Li-Wassatia Tawia Wal-Islah (the conservative association for public awareness and reform), who represents the voice of Shariah Law. “Her actions could be contagious and could give ideas to other women. Therefore, she must be isolated.”

As of Sunday morning, Amina Tyler has been placed in a psychiatric facility by her parents, who have disowned her, possibly along with the help of the police.

The Facebook page of her organization, FEMEN Tunisia, was hacked by Islamists: “Thanks to God we have hacked this immoral page and the best is to come,” the hackers wrote, “God willing, these dirt will disappear from Tunisia.”

Feminists respond on the internet to these events by organizing a petition to keep Amina safe on Change.org, and an International Day to Defend Amina on April 4, signed by 40 prominent artists, writers, organizations, and members of the media, including Richard Dawkins, the scientist and Atheist activist.

The Ukrainian organization, FEMEN, was founded in 2008 by Anna Hutsol, as a protest against the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ukrainian women. The organization has branches throughout Western Europe. Using toplessness as a media tactic, they have protested a variety of issues including sex tourism, pornography, international marriage agencies, the scandals of Italian politician Silivio Berlusconi, and the lack of public toilets in Kiev. They are fiercely against the legalization of prostitution in Ukraine and demand the criminalization of prostitution in other countries around the world.

FEMEN’s theatrical tactics are criticized by many, but they have been successful in garnering a lot of media attention in the past five years. In Tunisia, the now darkened birthplace of the Arab Spring, women have much yet to demand in terms of equality.

Westboro Asshats Church Picket Film Critic Roger Ebert’s Funeral

You can tell you’ve done something right in the world if when you go out of it, the world’s most hateful church of God Hates Everything scribbles some ill-conceived, and even more poorly-spelled, inflammatory drivel to wave at your casket.

Explain to me again the point of picketing funerals. Is it like boycotting death? I feel like WBC missed a very important part of the picket… its function isn’t just to write random words and hope someone points a camera at you. Just wanting attention and being as asshat to get it: That’s called a tantrum.

 

Westboro Baptist Church Pickets Roger ‘F@g Enabler’ Ebert’s Funeral (VIDEO)

2013/04/08

By 

 
Anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church to picket movie critic Roger Ebert's funeral.

Roger Ebert. Photo from Entertainment Weekly.

According to Jeff McMahon from Forbes magazine, Ebert was America’s “greatest movie reviewer,”

Not because he cared about movies, not because he told us what to think about movies, but because he told us just enough to care and to think for ourselves.

Fans and well-wishers are invited to send donations to the Ebert Foundation, c/o Northern Trust at 50 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603. In addition, a memorial tribute will be held tonight at the Chicago Theater (for more information, click here).

***As fans mourn the passing of celebrated film critic Roger Ebert, Westboro Baptist Church is once again putting the “fun” in “funeral.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church sent out a press release yesterday announcing their plans to picket Ebert’s funeral because, “God hates f@g-enablers.”

Apparently the folks at Westboro didn’t like it when Ebert tweeted a link to Jeff Chu’s Salon article, “My Day At Westboro Baptist: ‘Yes Jesus hates you,‘ back on March 25th while he was still alive:

Roger Ebert's tweet: Just another day at Westboro Baptist. http://dld.bz/cs74b

Chu is a gay Christian writer, and the author of “Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” Ebert’s tweet read: “Just another day at Westboro Baptist.http://dld.bz/cs74b.” The Topeka, KS-based Westboro Baptist Church is known for hating gays (theirWeb site URL says God hates them, too) and for protesting at the funerals of thousands of gay advocates, public figures, members of the military, and others with the misfortune to run afoul of them. According to their Web site, they have disrespected the dead at 50,197 funerals so far.

Ebert was a beloved American journalist, film critic, and writer who had been living with cancer of the thyroid glands since 2002, and passed away at age 70 on April 4th, 2013. He and his dearly departed colleague, Gene Siskel, pioneered movie reviews for the modern age starting in 1986 with the thumbs up/thumbs down format of their long-running At The Movies television series. His funeral was held this morning, April 8th, at Holy Names Cathedral in Chicago, IL.

Since the folks at Westboro are equal opportunity haters, their press release refers to this Catholic church as “PREISTS [sic] RAPE BOYS,” and further twist the knife of their contempt by misspelling the word “priests.” Either that, or they’re just no good at spelling.

***

The Chicago Tribune also reported that as the funeral procession solemnly marched up the main aisle of Holy Name Cathedral, the choir sang, ”God has smiled on me, he has set me free.” If the folks from Westboro Baptist Church could hear the lyrics as they shivered outside in the freezing rain, they surely would have been gnashing their teeth. The full text from Westboro’s hateful press release reads as follows:

GOD HATES F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT!

LORD WILLING, WBC TO PICKET IN LAWFUL PROXIMITY TO THE FUNERAL OF F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT AT “PREISTS RAPE BOYS” HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL (730 N. STATE STREET, CHICAGO, IL), MONDAY, APRIL 8, FROM 9:15-10:00 AM

For 22 years Westboro has warned the people of Topeka, Kansas & America that the policies of sin of this land have brought the wrath of God upon you, your houses, your city, your state, & your nation. American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church, just days before he received the horrifying summons: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: [now] whose shall [that silly vanity called a Pulitzer Prize] be, which thou has provided?” (Luke 12:20) This fool sold his soul for some fame & fortune, forgetting that God has made a simple declaration regarding His people: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:15). Now the famed critic is in a new jurisdiction, where he can see the blessings poured out on God’s humble servants in heaven, from his seat of eternal torment & sorrow in Hell! It’s too late for the fool Roger Ebert! WBC will continue to bind those who still live in Doomed america to God’s eternal laws & Word, so you, like Roger, are without excuse!

Elisabeth Parker Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterestboards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.

 

Sections of Ms. Parker’s article are reprinted here without permission. To read it in entirety and original context, go to http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/04/08/westboro-baptist-church-picket-roger-eberts_funeral/

Signs of the (binary) times

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/09/02/guest-post-go-where-sex-gender-and-toilets/

 

GO WHERE? SEX, GENDER, AND TOILETS

by Guest Blogger Marissa, Sep 2, 2010, at 10:07 am

an average looking washroom sign where the men's and women's  washrooms are indicated with stick figures

Women’s and men’s washrooms: we encounter them nearly every time we venture into public space. To many people the separation of the two, and the signs used to distinguish them, may seem innocuous and necessary. Trans people know that this is not the case, and that public battles have been waged over who is allowed to use which washroom. The segregation of public washrooms is one of the most basic ways that the male-female binary is upheld and reinforced.

As such, washroom signs are very telling of the way societies construct gender. They identify the male as the universal and the female as the variation. They express expectations of gender performance. And they conflate gender with sex.

I present here for your perusal, a typology and analysis of various washroom signs.

[Editor: After the jump because there are dozens of them… which is why Marissa’s post is so awesome…]

 

The Universal Male

One of the ideas that supports patriarchy is the notion that a man can be representative of all humanity, or “mankind”, while a woman could only be representative of other women. For example, in politics we see “women’s issues” segregated from everybody issues.

Washroom signs illustrate this idea by depicting the male figure simply, and the female as some kind of elaboration on the male figure. This sign expresses in words what many do with images:

two washroom doors adjacent to each other. One reads wo, the other  reads men

The most common type of washroom sign, pictured at the top of this post, is another example. Typically, these signs depict men as people, and women as people in skirts:

the male figure is standard but the female is shaped like two  circles balancing on top of an umbrella

 

Two rectangular stick figures, one with legs, another with a  triangle where the legs should be

a slightly more stylized version of standard washroom signs

the man is a rectangle with legs, the woman is a rectangle with  legs and a bulge around her hips to indicate a skirt

the male is drawn very simply with perpendicular lines but the  female is more complex with extra lines to indicate her bust and a  skirt

In Iran, men are depicted as people, and women are people in skirts and hijabs:

the male figure is standard but the female figures silhouette  extends over her head to imply a hijab

Occasionally, we see that men are people, and women are people with waists:

the male is indicated by horizontal vertical lines topped with a  circle and the female is a similar design but one of the lines is  hourglass shaped

the male has a simple rectangular silhouette but the female has an  hourglass shape

Which highlights the absurdity of the construction of gendered bodies because, well, men have waists too.

In this sign, we see that men have torsos, and women have floating, disembodied boobs:
the man is indicated with a circle for the head, a rectangle for  body, and two tapered oblongs for legs. The woman has a circle for a  head with a tentacle-like extension representing hair. Under her head  are two circles, attached to nothing. After a gap, her legs appear.

Women also sprout tentacles from their heads

Finally, we have a sign that, while patronizingly insulting, is interesting in that it takes the assumption of the universal male to its logical conclusion. That is, if “men” is interchangeable with “people”, and women aren’t men, then women can’t really be considered people at all, can they?


the man is indicated with the standard stick-figure. The woman is indicated with a flower.

That is, if “men” is interchangeable with “people,” and women aren’t men, then women can’t really be considered people at all. But who wants to be a person when you can be a beautiful, delicate flower instead?

Opposite Sexes

There is another kind of washroom sign that, although based on the men-are-people/women-are-people-in-dresses trope, doesn’t quite fit. These signs depict men and women as triangles.

like the signs above, only the circles are no longer attached to   the triangles

headless triangles

two elongated triangles, one pointing down and one pointing up,  both with circles hovering over them

One is not an elaboration of the other. They are both simply triangles. These signs remain problematic, though, because they construct men and women as fundamentally opposite to one another. It also assumes that the viewer understands that the triangle side signifies either shoulders or a skirt, and that is not a given. Which becomes apparent when you consider this sign:

two obtuse triangles, one with the smallest acute angle pointing  downwards, the other with the smallest acute angle pointing upwards.  Both are topped with circles to indicate heads, and both have a single  line coming out the bottom to indicate legs

Unlike the previous signs, here the downwards pointing triangle identifies the women’s washroom, and the upwards pointing triangle signifies the men’s washroom. I assume that the angles are supposed to represent torpedo boobs and a pitched tent.

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

In controversies over who is allowed to use which washroom, a recurring theme is the conflation of gender, sex and sexuality, as cis women insist on treating male-bodied women as some kind of threatening sexual predators. This conflation is illustrated by washroom signs themselves, which sometimes designate washrooms by gender, and sometimes by sex, sometimes accompanied by assumptions about sexuality.

Gender Performance

Many washroom signs do not depict the male as a universal stick figure. Instead, the distinction is made by playing up differences between how masculinity and femininity are performed. In doing so, the signs communicate essentializing notions about what makes a man or a woman. Most often, it is style of dress.








This pair of signs is interesting, because it might not immediately be apparent to the modern viewer that the individual pictured on the sign for the men’s washroom is, in fact, male.  It shows that the styles we associate with masculinity are not universal across time and space.

Then we have these signs which universalize gender performance to apply it to the insect world:

Butterflies are naturally feminine because they’re pretty, and beetles are naturally masculine because they’re not pretty.

Even more suggestive of the notion that “clothing makes the man” and woman, are the signs which do not show people at all, but just gendered apparel.


Some signs incorporate gendered posture: the woman is canting, or has her eyes demurely cast downward, while the man has his feet firmly planted on the ground, displaying his physical strength.




These are also suggestive of the behaviour we expect from men and women – women should be coy and submissive; men brash and dominating.

Sex

After stick-figures, signs showing different styles of dress for men and women seem to be the most common way to designate men’s and women’s washrooms. However, like transphobic people, some signs focus on what’s under the clothes. A couple of the following photos might be mildly NSFW.

These signs are of several kinds. All are essentializing and erase trans people and people with atypical sex organs.

The first is men-have-penises/women-have-breasts. I believe that these are indicative of the degree to which breasts have been sexualized in our society as, like the sign below, they seem to be oblivious to the fact that women have genitalia, and hence construct breasts as the female equivalent of the penis.



The second group is men-have-penises/women-have-vaginas.


It seems that vaginas are shown attached to women to a far lesser extent than breasts are.

Somewhat related to the last category are the signs that pose the question: do you stand or sit when you pee?



(A note from an anonymous commenter: …the photo of the pointers/setters is from a restaurant in Philadelphia called the White Dog Cafe, where I worked for many years. There are four single bathrooms, all named after types of dogs (punny, I know) – and all explicitly non-gendered. Those bathrooms were designed in part with the West Philadelphia queer community in mind; when I worked there I had many LGBTQ coworkers, including someone who was transitioning, and it was an incredibly supportive environment. Duly noted.)


Other signs use the secondary sex characteristics of animals:



This illustrates the way we assume the universality of the gender binary, when it is not universal. For example, hens have been known to behave like roosters, and then develop male secondary sex characteristics, making the news in Sweden and China.

There was also a rooster in Italy who started to lay eggs after a fox killed all the hens.

This sign is even more essentializing, specifying the chromosome pairs you need to use the washroom:

It also universalizes the gender binary to alien races (whose legs conveniently seem to abstractly represent human sex organs) and robots.

Conflating Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Signs can vary between designating washrooms by sex and by gender because most people assume that they are the same thing.

Her thought bubble: “shopping”; His thought bubble: “football”

This sign covers all the bases. Male as universal/female as variation: He’s a simple egg-shape, she’s wearing a dress and lipstick. Biological sex: He has a minimalist penis, she has minimalist vagina. Gender performance: He’s thinking about football, she’s thinking about shopping. It’s almost funny that the graphic designer felt that so many different elements were necessary. It’s also interesting because it illustrates how total the conflation is and the rigidity of the resulting dichotomy. Women must meet standards of femininity. Men can’t wear lipstick or enjoy shopping. And they certainly can’t have vaginas.

There’s an element of absurdity to it. We don’t segregate washrooms because people have different interests. Nor is it because of people’s wardrobe choices since, obviously, women wear pants. And, as this sign from Utilikilts points out, it’s not unheard of for men to wear skirts.

We segregate washrooms because of sex. Because of  the presumed sexual interest of the opposite sex. That is, because of sexuality.

Specifically, because of male heterosexuality, which is assumed to be predatory. Heck, it’sexpected and accepted as predatory, to the extent that it’s joked about.

This is unfair to a lot of men. And it becomes an excuse for those men who are predatory.

The segregation of washrooms is based on an assumption of heterosexuality, predatory in men and passive and vulnerable in women; the association of sexuality with sex, and the conflation of sex and gender. In other words, it is nonsensical. One thing we don’t segregate washrooms by is sexuality.

 

Uh…?
Finally, here are some signs that I just found confusing. In Germany, women are represented by fire, and men are represented by water.

Whereas in Brazil, fire represents men. Women are
represented by flowers…

This one is from Sangunburi Crater, on Jeju Island in South Korea. I’m assuming there’s an explanation for why the woman has a scuba mask on her head, and why the man is golem, but I don’t know what it is.

UPDATE: Several people responded with explanations on threads where this post has been linked. Here is one of them: The woman diver is a haenyeo, or pearl diver – there is an independent haenyo subculture that is actually pretty kick-ass and unique to Jejudo. Only the women dive. ... The golem male represents a traditional totem of men wishing the pearl-divers good luck and safety on their journeys.

 

From an Applebee’s in Sao Paulo. The red sign is for the women’s washroom. Obviously.

Photo Sources:
Toilet Signs
because you value your soul
Dark Roasted Blend 12345
Blogoncherry
Akshay Gandhi’s Blog
Funny Photo Collection
Ahh.. Chewww!
1 Design Per Day

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Marissa has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Toronto, with minors in sociology and history. She is currently finishing law school, and hopes to practice family law. She has been blogging at This Is Hysteria! for two months, where she writes about social justice issues, politics, culture and working in call centres.

Thanks to Lucy for pointing us to her fantastic post.