Domestic Violence

Joe Biden Marries Same-Sex Couple

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 12.16.03 PMIf you didn’t have enough reason to get all Leslie Knope on Joe Biden, the Vice President got temporarily ordained by the District of Columbia in order to marry two White House staffers…in a same-sex wedding…at his personal house. Swoon!

Brian Mosteller, Director of Oval Office Operations married Joe Mahshie, a trip coordinator for Michelle Obama at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington in front of their immediate family. It’s the VAWA founder’s first wedding as an officiant, though there’s no indication as to whether he plans to marry more deserving couples after his stint as Veep (maybe he should!). In a time when a certain potential presidential candidate drives people with fear and loathing, it’s nice to know there are those politicians out there who still understand that love and support is how you lead by example. Dr. Biden put it best!  Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 12.24.24 PM

Congrats to Mahshie and Mosteller; may your marriage be blessed by the rays of Biden’s winning smile with years of happiness and love.

 

 

 

 

Jewelry that Empowers Survivors of Human Trafficking

Free Bird BraceletsFor this Feminist Fashion Friday, take a moment to think about the jewelry you are wearing right now – who made it? By buying it, did it help someone in need or make the world a better place? Here at The Feminist Bride jewelry often comes under scrutiny due to the wedding industrial complex or how it can sometimes negatively affect gender equality; but sometimes there’s jewelry that creates positive social welfare and makes an amazing difference in the lives of women and their families. Relevée jewelry does just that, and we love socially conscious options for weddings. Founder and Executive Director of Made by Survivors, Sarah Symons explains how Relevée jewelry is made not only by women but specifically helps survivors of human trafficking in South Asia. So if you need to buy your best ladies, your bride, your mother of the bride/groom, your local mailwoman or just a friend a gift consider Relevée jewelry first. Here’s more on how amazing and socially minded it is.

Emma Watson and Men’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson Co-Hosts Special HeForShe Event. UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson Co-Hosts Special HeForShe Event. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Emma Watson’s impassioned United Nation’s speech seeking both sexes to peacefully unite in order to achieve women’s equality has touched a nerve. Inaugurating the HeForShe campaign, Watson went on to explain that fundamental feminism “… by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

Creating Social Good with Your Wedding Registry

http://www.kiva.org/lend/753659

Image: KIVA. In this Group: Saraswati, Tikeswar, Sapuri, Manorama, Ketaki, Upasi, Sumanti, Jamuna, Sumitra

Feeling like a traditional gift registry is an egregious imposition to ask for more stuff that you already have? Or an archaic gendered tradition? Suspicious that asking for money as a gift throws every etiquette book into a blazing book burning fire? Here’s an option that gives the newlyweds tremendous good karma  - consider a micro finance registry. The beauty of having guests contribute to micro finance loan account is that it generously gives to those in more immediate need and then eventually the newlyweds when their the ones in need. To read more about this idea, check out The Feminist Bride article on Green Bride Guide

Playboy Explains When Catcalling is Okay; It’s Surprisingly…Feminist

Playboy, an unlikely ally in women’s quest to end street harassment, especially Bv_DwnmIMAI130Pbecause they’ve made millions and millions off encouraging men to ogle at women, has done something wonderfully feminist. Hugh Hefner has even claimed we are living in a post-feminist world before, meaning that a chart like this shouldn’t even be necessary. But here we, feminists, are in agreement with Playboy’s work for once. Hell just froze over.

Playboy and graphic designer Shea Strauss have designed an excellent explanatory flowchart (click to see full chart) that answers when it’s okay to catcall a woman. In a sort of choose-your-own adventure game, guys can follow the line that represents his libido and male entitlement the best with options like, “Are you sexually frustrated?” if yes, proceed to “Yeah, I wanna yell sex stuff at people.” It eventually all flows down to “Nope, don’t do it,” and “Yeah, go for it.” There’s a real educative twist to help folks understand that the only case where it’s okay to catcall is when there’s mutual consent (and even then they make clear heckling is an equal opportunity for both sexes) and when it’s an actually kitty. For everyone other instance, it’s not cool.

This chart comes in the wake of other great devices to battle street harassment. There’s the bell Hooks hotline, which provides women a fake number to give to strangers who ask for it. The idea (unfortunately, this reasoning exists) is to safeguard women “because we’re [women] raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.”

There’s also the Cards Against Harassment, which are business cards that anyone can get and hand out to street harassers to explain how their actions negatively affect women. And Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s art project, Stop Telling Women to Smile attempts to combat harassment directly on the streets too.

While this great flowchart doesn’t get Playboy out of the doghouse for its years of misogyny, objectification, exploitation and body issues, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Dating Solutions on Giving Out Your Phone Number

Finally, there’s a solution for when you don’t want to give your phone number toUntitled-1_copy_2757471b creepy people, but don’t want to be rude either because as the bell Hooks hotline explains, “because we’re [women] raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.”

Feminist author bell Hooks has created the Feminist Phone Intervention Hotline for anyone to use when faced with the dating dilemma of giving out your phone number to a stranger. When you’re just not that into the suitor, you can just give them the phone number (669) 221-6251.

Why there’s much more to the Nigerian girls’ kidnapping

Hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped in a school raid in Nigeria on April 14, 2014. 140502173752-lead-dnt-tapper-social-media-campaign-kidnapped-nigerian-schoolgirls-00012525-story-topThe kidnappers are from the Islamist group Boko Haram, which means, “Western education is sinful.”  Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been unable to retrieve the girls and he is seeking internationally assistance.

US Secretary of State John Kerry promised help. “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice,” Kerry said from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The international community is right to respond cooperatively, but what about addressing why the girls were kidnapped in the first place?

Iraq Moving To Legalize Child Marriage

A terrible step backwards in women’s fight for equality overseas. Iraq’s Council of Ministers has drafted a law, The Jaafari Personal Status Law, which will be voted on April 30. If passed the law would:

  1. Legalize marital rape
  2. Grant men the authority to marry girls as young as age ninePhoto Courtesy: (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  3. Prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslims
  4. Require wives to submit to sex on their husband’s whim
  5. Prevent women from leaving the house without the permission of their husbands
  6. Give automatic custody in divorce cases to fathers.
  7. Only father have the right to accept or refuse a marriage proposal
  8. Discontinues temporary marriages for sexual pleasure (called zawaj al-misyar or “traveller’s marriages”)

This law was formed to appease the Shi’a Muslim community in Iraq, which have a stronghold majority in the country at 36 million. It’s argued that Iraq’s current law that women can only marry at the age of 18 religiously discriminates against the Shi’a Muslims. As it stands, UNICEF estimates that more than 24 percent of Iraqi women are married by age 18, and nearly five percent are married by age 15.

If passed before Iraq general elections, the law will violate the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq signed and its own constitution.

To understand how widespread this issue is in the world and not just potentially in Iraq, here are some facts:

  • In developing countries, more than 60 million women aged 20-24 were married/in union before the age of 18. Over thirty-one million of them live in South Asia (UNICEF estimates based on MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • In countries like Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger more than 60 per cent of women entered into marriage or into a union before their eighteenth birthdays (MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • Girls living in the poorest 20 per cent of households are more likely to get married at an early age than those living in the wealthiest 20 per cent. In Peru 45 per cent of women were married by age 18 among the poorest 20 per cent, compared to 5 per cent among the richest 20 per cent (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 2000).
  • Women with primary education are significantly less likely to be married/in union as children than those who received no education. In Zimbabwe, 48 per cent of women who had attended primary school had been married by the age of 18, compared to 87 per cent of those who had not attended school (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 1999).

To read more about global child bride issues:

The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides

15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws

Acid Throwing and Forced Marriage Now Illegal in Pakistan

Information originally appeared in: Iraq Wants To Legalize Child Marriage – The Daily Beast.

 

Understanding the Past, Present and Future of Marriage

This is my most recent lecture at the Tufts University GSC Research Symposium. It was me and a bunch of Ph.D. candidates lecturing on mostly science, but alas my speciality is in marriage culture. Here’s a breakdown of how marriage’s past, present and future effect our quality of life. It’s an interesting overview about how our time-honored traditions are totally irrelevant to Western lifestyles, which in itself makes a case for why it’s really important we respectfully modernize them! Enjoy.

Putting the “V” in Valentine’s Day

When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, we seek to spend it with those we love and shower them with all the accoutrements a Hallmark Valentine’s can bestow. What about spending Valentine’s Day in a non-commercial way? What if you could honor the women in your life by participating in something that seeks to support and empower them? What if you spent this Valentine’s Day learning how to appreciate yourself?

15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws

Dahiney Ghuri in Pul-i-Kumri, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, outlawed forced marriage and acid throwing on December 11, 2011.  Unfortunately for Afghanistan, a similar story has gained huge international attention as well, but for opposite reasons. 15-year old bride, Sahar Gul, who after refusing to become a prostitute by her in-laws was severely beaten and locked in a dirty basement bathroom for several months with barely enough necessities to survive. Her in-laws of seven months pulled out her nails, clumps of hair, burned her with cigarette butts, and tore pieces of flesh from her body. Gul, in critical condition, will be transported to India for serious treatment and recovery.

Acid Throwing and Forced Marriage Now Illegal in Pakistan

A historical moment for Pakistan, whose Senate passed two new bills: The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008. This makes the following illegal in Pakistan. 

Hillary Clinton United Nations Speech: ‘Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights’

An amazingly powerful speech that should be shared and heeded. Hillary Clinton speaks to the United Nations about how LGBT rights are human rights. Clinton explained that LGBT legitimacy does not differ from the civil rights issues that other groups experienced throughout history. She stresses that to make sure LGBT members are not discriminated or abused we all need to recognize the need to accept and protect – that they should be as free as the rest of us to live in peace, expression and lifestyle without condition.

“It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.”

“I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.”

“It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.”
Click to here to read full transcript.

More Feminist Bride articles related to gay rights:

A Testimonial on the Families Gay Marriages Builds

Religion and Marriage

Diane Savino On NY Gay Marriage Bill: ‘We Have Nothing To Fear From Love And Commitment’ (VIDEO)

Petition Asks Bert And Ernie To Get Married On Sesame Street

Michele Bachmann Gets “Flippy-Floppy” on Addressing Gay Rights Debate

Military gay couples still won’t enjoy benefits

NJ Has A New Situation for Gay Marriage Rights

Woman’s Pro-Gay Shirt Deemed Offensive at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Theme Park

Miley Cyrus Inks Wrong Symbol In Support Of Gay Marriage

Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley Pushes for Gay-Marriage

Hair’ Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage With On-Stage Weddings

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Meets & Marries East: The Mail Order Brides Industry

Miss Representation – OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER

It’s important to think about how women in relationships and in marriage are portrayed too! Wives are often pitched as nags and ragged or sexy trophies. Brides are crazy, weight obsessed, vain control freaks. Miss Representation – OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER – Sundance Film Festival 2011 – YouTube.

Book Review: Agnes Smedley’s ‘Daughter of Earth’

Daughter of Earth by Agnes Smedley. An under-appreciated feminist novel, Agnes’s fictionalized personal memoir traverses her impoverished and brutal childhood to her equally straining, political adulthood. Daughter of Earth gives amazing insight into the issues of the working class proletariat during the Depression era. Smedley brings us an eye-opening account of how starvation, extreme poverty, brutal working conditions and a lack of education can shape the emotional and physical experience of an individual. The book also focuses heavily on the social conditions imposed on women from the limitations caused by marriage to a lack of birth control and over populated families, from domestic abuse to sexual freedoms. Aside from the book’s political nature and historical insight, it is a smooth read and a pleasure to read. Smedley should be remembered (and read) just as much as her feminist sisters!

Religion and Marriage

This chart has been circling the Internet. What’s interesting about wedding tradition today is that it is mostly shaped by pop culture and media, whereas back in the day it was influenced mostly by religion. This chart lays out the various verses that relate to marriage, sex and women’s issues. While a lot of these practices are not as commonly practiced, I thought I might address ones that are:

Man + Women (Nuclear Family) bride who could not prove her virginity was stoned to death – this still happens in the middle east and sub-Sahara in what is justified as an honor killing. Honor killings are not limited to stoning but can also include burning, acid burning and other forms of abuse. For example, in Iraq 2007, a 17-year old girl, Du’a Khalil Aswad, was stoned to death in an honor killing because she fell in love with someone outside her religion. She was from a minority Kurdish religious group called Yezidi, and the boy was a Sunni Muslim. Iraqi Security forces stood by and watched as she was dragged into a square and publically flogged until her death. Pools of her blood collected around her body in the middle of the street. Not one person in the crowd tried to save her. The entire event was captured on camera and released on the Internet (Warning: Graphic Violence)

Man + Woman  + Woman’s Property – This was called coverture and wasn’t outlawed until 1933.

Man + Woman + Woman + Woman – An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people live a polygamist lifestyle in the US.

Rapist + His Victim – While no one forced a victim to marry their rapist, one parallel issue that could be drawn is how state abortion laws treat pregnant victims of rape. First, states that outlaw abortions outright are leaving little choice for its constituents, along with the states that limit the victim’s freedom to chose the outcome of their pregnancy and have control over their own bodies.

Male Slave + Female Slave - The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 American youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Each year an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold, or forced across the world’s borders [2003 U.S. State Department estimate]. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as 5, who fall victim to the sex trade. in 1999 that more than 200 international matchmaking services operated in the United States, arranging 4,000 to 6,000 marriages annually between American men and foreign women, mostly from the Philippines and former Soviet Union.

Frenchman Found Guilty for Not Having Sex with His Wife

From Frans Kahn to now a tired middle-aged man, the French are having their own sexual revolution as of late. The question is which way is it going?

The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides

While many of us fret over unimportant issues related to our own weddings or believe that our freedom of choice on how to marry is a sign of progress, we must remind ourselves that equality and humanity in marriage is seldom enjoyed in other parts of the world. From the denial of gay marriage to the following issue of child bride, we must remember that  many existing forms of marriage violate basic human rights. It is up to us who are privileged enough to enjoy healthier forms of marriage to not turn our backs on those who still need help.

Walk Down the Aisle to Your Own Tune

Wedding Contract by Males and Dowry Dispute Leaves Bride in Poverty

Yes, Virginia [Woolf] dowries so still exist! The writer who insisted women must have their own income would be upset about this law decision and the culture leading up to it in all capacities. Our Canadian neighbor’s B.C. Supreme Court turned down a petition for payment of a dowry under a marriage contract authorized in a sharia court of Amman, Jordan. Seems that the dowry and sharia were contracted by the bride’s uncle, leaving her to live in poverty after her divorce.