Injustice Against Women Hidden for Too Long

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DUBLIN, Ireland – On paper, Martina Keogh’s life reads like a tragedy – but don’t tell her that. When you meet her in person it’s hard to reconcile the facts of her early life, which included her quasi-legal incarceration in one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene laundries, with the warm and funny grandmother she is today. I met Martina on a recent trip to Ireland, when she agreed to talk to me about her experiences in one of the slave-labor workhouses operated by the Catholic Church – with an as-yet-unknown degree of government complicity – from 1765 to 1996. [Read more...]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 2

Justice for Magdalenes

 Read Part 1 here.  I hear Martina Keogh before I can see her. She’s yelling at her two small dogs, Princess and Tilly, to pipe down and they are happily ignoring her, an interaction that will replay several times over the course of our two-hour conversation. The dogs, plus a two-week-old kitten she’s fostering for the local animal rescue, keep us company that day. Their periodic interruptions—begging for attention, meowing to be fed—relieve some of the darkness of the story I’ve asked Martina to tell. [Read more...]

Thank You for Your Service: “The Invisible War” Confronts Military Rape

"The Invisible War"

Still from The Invisible War.

It’s Oscar week, so I decided I’d get in on the fun by watching a nominated film that touches on my pet issues and doing a little write-up. Of course, “fun” in this case means watching a devastating documentary about rape in the military and then attempt to write about it while sniveling into my cardigan sleeve. [Read more...]

Shilling the Angel in the House

Because I am a glutton for a very particular kind of punishment, I just read the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican Convention last night. I knew going in that Mrs. Romney and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the GOP’s lady-friendliness, but I was interested to see what use the Party would make of her. Given the absolutely banner year of crap the GOP has had with women’s issues, I assumed that her speech would try to repair some of the damage done by the Legitimate Rape Brigade  by distracting us with a few examples of times her husband’s party was not being overtly hostile to women. Couldn’t hurt, right? [Read more...]

Beat Cops

Do you remember that recent case out of NYC in which a patrol officer was accused of raping an intoxicated woman while his partner stood guard outside her apartment? And then they were both acquitted despite a mountain of convincing evidence, and people were horrified and everything was gross, the end? Well, as it turns out that wasn’t the end, because another woman has emerged to say that she was mistreated by the same pair of cops several months earlier—not raped, but physically abused and personally degraded in a circumstance in which the two were charged to assist her. There are records of the complaints she filed at the time, so taken together with the alleged rape it’s all a little fishy, no? One might deduce—if one were an extremely jaded feminist blogger, for example—that Officer Kenneth Moreno has a problem with the ladies. [Read more...]

Supreme Court to Walmart Plaintiffs: Shut Up, You Dumb Girls

Good news for all you misogynist bosses out there: the Supreme Court totally has your back, bro. Apparently all you have to do is write a policy saying you’re not allowed to discriminate against women, and then you can safely discriminate against women on a massive fucking scale and you will be totally fine. Because: the written policy!  It’s genius, really. Not since the Citizens United decision have I been so forcefully reminded that the conservative majority of our nation’s highest court is a pack of absolute, unrepentant hypocrites. I actually like to be reminded of that; I find it bracing, like a cold shower or a sudden blow to the head. Gets the adrenalin flowing! God, they’re terrible. But I digress.

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Saudi Women Protesters “Brave”; U.S. Still a Total Wuss

Saudi Arabia is seriously the worst. Of all the many, many places on earth where it thoroughly sucks to be female, they rank impressively high. Basically women there have the legal status of minors, only permanently. Women can’t vote, they can’t go out in public unless accompanied by a man; they can’t even get a job without written permission from a male “guardian” which, what the hell? And as many now know because of last Friday’s protests, Saudi Arabian women are not allowed to drive. Anywhere, ever. I mean, they can, but they get arrested for it, which is a pretty good deterrent. When weighing the costs and benefits of a trip to the grocery store, I’m guessing “will go to jail” is a fairly convincing argument against running errands. [Read more...]

BREAKING: Anthony Weiner’s Wife’s Fetus Not Actually Your Business

Well, it’s over. Congressman Crotch Shot is stepping down, giving way at last beneath the weight of the nation’s collective scolding. I haven’t yet been persuaded that his toolish behavior constituted a firing offense; he committed no crimes that we know of, it was mostly the media coverage that made it impossible for him to do his job. The press of course went for the easy kill, focusing on what was personally salacious rather than professionally relevant. And Americans, never ones to miss out on a public shaming, set upon Weiner like pack of self-righteous hyenas.  Weiner should lose his seat, they argued, not because he was bad at his job, but because he was a bad man. Yikes! Tough audience. [Read more...]

Unimaginative Sexist Declares Feminism Sucks

What would you call a guy who is on record saying that: 1. men sexually harass women out of respect for their social equality; 2.  women are biologically programmed to desire Victorian-style housewifery over professional pursuits; 3. all straight women are basically prostitutes; and 4. feminism is not just bad, not just wrong, but actually evil. If you responded that you would call this guy “a dickhead,” you are only partially correct. The full answer is “a dickhead whose sexist drivel is repeatedly published by Psychology Today, which I’m sure has editors though you wouldn’t know it from reading this crap.” [Read more...]

Low-Hanging Fruit: Charlie Freaking Sheen

Low-Hanging Fruit is an occasional feature in which I ridicule people who have already been so thoroughly castigated that they really don’t need me piling on to make the point. But then I go ahead and pile on anyway, because I’m just trivial enough to enjoy that sort of thing.

I had sincerely hoped never to have to mention Mr. Sheen again. As far as I was concerned, the Warlock and I had achieved a sort of detente. While his crazy misogynist shenanigans continued unabated, I had already covered the only aspect of them I thought was genuinely interesting—the fact that we know so little about what motivates serial batterers that we’re generally unable to rehabilitate them. That was the extent of anything useful I had to say on the subject, so I decided to leave the balance of the commentary to the prurient chattering class, who can’t seem to get enough of his coke-headed whore-mongering ways. Me, I’d had enough. [Read more...]