Posts filed under ‘feminism’

transvestite travesty

Prostitutes and transvestites are nothing new in Palermo– in fact, prior to the recent gentrification of Palermo, it was one of Buenos Aires’ main red light districts— but the recent lifting of a prostitution ban in the area may give them more visibility.

Pagina 12 reports that the suspension of Resolución 38 (“declaraba ‘el Rosedal de Palermo y su entorno’ como ‘espacio no autorizado para la oferta o demanda de servicios sexuales”) by a new resolution, Resolución 43, was done in part to increase awareness and reduce transmission rates of HIV/AIDS.

Basically, making prostitution illegal doesn’t stop it from happening. Instead, prostitution will still go on, but the government can’t officially talk about it or do any sort of outreach, like HIV/AIDS prevention, because it’s supposed to be illegal! So by lifting the ban on prostitution (although not outright repealing it), the government is attempting to address the problem rather than sweep it under the rug.

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Despite yesterday’s protest by a transvestite organization pushing for the resolution’s complete repeal, it looks as though the government has actually been including sex workers in its discussions. As was reported,

‘Decidimos entonces convocar a una amplia mesa de diálogo.’ Se decidió ya incluir a la Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales y Transgénero de la Argentina (ATTA); la Federación Argentina de Personas Gays, Lésbicas, Travestis, Bisexuales e Intersexuales (Fagltbi); la Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices Argentinas (Ammar); la Asociación de Amigos del Lago de Palermo, otras entidades vecinales y vecinos interesados; el Inadi; por parte del gobierno porteño participarán los ministros de Medio Ambiente, de Gobierno y de Derechos Humanos, así como la Procuraduría General.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the government will actually listen to what any of these groups have to say, but at least there was some effort to talk to sex workers before making a decision.

Prostitution doesn’t exist just because it’s legal or allowed; instead, it exists because we live in a society where sexuality (and sexual expression/desire) is repressed, where objectifying and treating people (specifically women) a certain way is promoted, and where increasing rates of poverty (especially among women) forces people to take certain jobs. So making it legal doesn’t necessarily deal with the root of the problem, but it at least addresses safety and health concerns for sex workers.–REBECCA

July 24, 2007 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Europeans and South Americans ‘Just Have Sexy in Their Blood’

Female leaders 

It’s been a little over a week since President Kirchner announced that he would not be running for re-election, allowing his wife, Senator Cristina Kirchner, to run instead, and already the media has been all over Argentina’s political drama.

Inevitably, there is much that can be said about the Kirchner-Clinton connection; both couples met in law school, both men became presidents, both women became senators, and now, both women are aiming for the White (or in Argentina’s case, Pink) House.

Yet for some writers, the most important thing is that…Cristina Kirchner is sexy and Hillary Clinton is not!

Yes, that’s right, apparently ABC News thought it necessary to devote three pages to analyzing the differences in dress and appearance between the two women:

When Argentina’s foxy first lady and fashionista Cristina Kirchner announced July 2 that she would run for president, she allowed her long, black hair to cascade over a plunging neckline.

But America’s first lady of politics, Hillary Rodham Clinton — who has often been compared to Kirchner — opted for a solid black pants suit during her recent presidential debate.

Other international women with brains and power, such as France’s Ségolène Royal, flaunt their sexuality. But Americans prefer to play the dowdy card.

And that’s just the first three paragraphs. The atrocious dek of the piece declares, “Europeans and South Americans ‘Just Have Sexy in Their Blood,” making a sweeping generalization about entire continents based on the evidence of just three people. Apparently ignoring the existence of “dowdy” (or–gasp–women who fall into neither category) leaders like Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Mary McAleese of Ireland, Tarja Halonen of Finland, and Angela Merkel of Germany will make your already-shoddy argument work.

It goes without saying that you would never find an article dissecting the dressing habits of Bush, Sarkozy, or any other male politician (except perhaps John Edwards, but that’s just veiled homophobia at work). Nestor Kirchner is in no way easy on the eyes, plus he’s got a major lisp, and yet not a peep about his physical appearance. 

Cristina Kirchner hopes to succeed her husband Nestor

Like with most things, women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t; that same old virgin-whore complex means that she’s either totally dowdy (and, in Clinton’s case, a lesbian) or a complete vamp. Getting dressed to go to a fundraising event is no longer just a simple routine, but instead an indicator of how a woman is as a political leader. And that’s worrisome.

Because even if they are elected, they will never escape the judgements that are passed on them and not on their male predecessors. We can say that we’ve made history and elected a woman president, but it won’t mean anything if we still hold her to a double standard.

And it’s not just some small time blogger saying this (and believe me, several have), but ABC News. Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is not, “Are we ready for a female president?” but rather, “Is the media ready for a female president?” We’ll know it is when the answer is, “We’re ready for a president.”–REBECCA

July 11, 2007 at 7:34 pm 1 comment

r.i.p. JANE

jane 

Yesterday I received the sad news that Jane magazine was shut down. Conde Nast claimed that, “the magazine and website will not fulfill our long-term business expectations,” and various people have reported that no one, save editor in chief Brandon Holley, knew about it until Monday morning. Editors were given until the evening to pack up and, basically, get out.

While  Jane wasn’t perfect (and what magazine is?), it was a Trojan Horse of feminist beliefs in a sea of women-hating women’s magazines. Sure, Jane would put Ashlee Simpson and Avril Lavigne on the cover, but the content inside the magazine was anything but ditzy. With Jane gone, there is no other mainstream women’s magazine that will teach women how to change a flat tire, tell them where to go for a BBQ-centric road trip, or show them a fashion spread shot at Bonnaroo.

A year ago I wrote an analytical piece about Jane for a class and, despite its overall academic dorkiness, think that the message of this paper gets at why the shuttering of Jane is so disappointing:

“JANE is able to reach out to readers who may never have encountered feminism in the media if it weren’t for stumbling upon the magazine; in a recent letter printed in the magazine, Krista writes, “It makes me sick now, but I started reading JANE ‘cause the grocery store was out of Cosmo. Thank God the stock boy was sick. This clever, insightful publication takes the good from other mags and mixes it up in a dorky way. I find comfort in the sarcasm of every journalist on payroll.” Magazines like Bust and Bitch aren’t able to make it onto most grocery store stands, therefore it’s important to at least have a magazine like JANE sitting side-by-side with the latest issue of Glamour. Although it might not be able to present its central value of women’s empowerment 100-percent of the time, JANE makes use of what it can in order to have the biggest and broadest impact.”

On a more personal note, I interned at Jane for a year, which in media internship years is about 5. It was one of the best experiences I have had at a magazine, mostly because of the people who worked there. They taught my how to copy edit, how to write a proper pitch (and would then actually read my pitches), and how to develop my passion for writing about all things pop culture-related. So the first thing I thought about when I heard that Jane was folding was all of the great writers/editors/etc. who worked there. I wish them the best and hope that everything works out.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Missbehave stays afloat (since it has potential), and I’ll have to figure out how I can cancel the gift subscription to Jane that I bought for my sister at the end of–and I’m not joking– last week.  So long, Jane. –REBECCA

July 10, 2007 at 2:57 pm 4 comments


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