Feminist Fix: Janet Mock on Complicating Feminism, A Very Big Town Hall and the Worst States for Reproductive Rights

Welcome to Feminist Fix, our weekly round-up of feminist news and stories you might have missed.

Feminist News

+ The Trump administration is crafting a plan to cut legal immigration by up to fifty percent.

Half of a Kansas town showed up to their Senator’s town hall on health care.

+ A Senate Committee voted to give free birth control to service members.

+ Spanish airline Iberia has been fined for forcing female hires to undergo pregnancy tests.

+ The fight over gerrymandering in Texas is headed to the Supreme Court—with national implications. Meanwhile, The Nation digs in to the Trump administration’s “nationwide voter suppression campaign.”

+ Rep. Steve King’s plan to fund the border wall? Easy. Just cut funding for Planned Parenthood and food stamps!

Movers & Shakers

+ Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon is breaking boundaries.

+ This is the BUST interview with Janet Mock.

As soon as I said that I was trans, there were definitely folks in the audience who booed and yelled out who were not OK with a trans woman being in that space. The camera didn’t pick that stuff up. And then, when I brought up being inclusive of sex workers, folks booed about that as well. But for me, it was like, Oh, I’m doing something right. This is exactly it —this is complicating our feminism, this is complicating the narrative, this is bringing more people in, and that upsets some people in this space. But that’s my job.

+ Florida’s first Black state attorney was pulled over. Now, she’s speaking out.

Ayala confirmed she was pulled over by Orlando police after teaching a class at Florida A&M University Law School.

“To be clear, I violated no laws. The license plate, while confidential was and remains properly registered. The tint was in no way a violation of Florida law,” Ayala said in a statement.

She said that although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law, her goal is to have a “constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community.”

“I look forward to sitting down to have an open dialogue with the Chief of Orlando Police Department regarding how this incident impacts that goal,” she said.

+ Meet the Muslim women who are also sports pioneers.

+ Leila Haddad is fighting the sexist and racist stereotypes surrounding her career. (And don’t you dare call her a “belly dancer.”)

In short, the misnomer “belly dancing” and its connotations are a result of Orientalism, a concept popularized by the scholar Edward Said that describes the West’s patronizing—and often fetishizing—representations of “the East.” In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, accompanied by French scholars, began his military campaign in Egypt to one-up Britain in colonial conquest. At the time, Egypt was largely gender segregated. So, when Napoleon and his smart friends needed some female energy—and the European prostitutes Napoleon requested couldn’t make it due to Britain’s blockade—they found themselves interacting with Egyptian prostitutes who were often also dancers. Historians speculate that Napoleon and gang began to call the dance, danse du ventre, or dance of the stomach, and thus the English translation “belly dancing” was born. As Haddad pointed out, nowhere in the Arab world is the dance called raqs al-beden, or dance of the belly.

Deep Dives

+ Let’s not mince words: The NRA’s new ad will get Black people killed.

But, we know the purpose of this video was not to seek truth. It was nothing more than a hateful woman speaking her opinions as facts. The video was intended to play on white people’s privileged, teary-eyed, unchecked emotions and to use them to incite violence against already marginalized groups, particularly Black and Latino people, the LGBTQ community, women, undocumented folks, and Muslims; populations that experience the brunt of Trump’s deadly policies.

We know that nothing the NRA does should be shocking as it has a history in supporting racist gun laws. In the 1960s, white legislators wanted to curtail any likelihood that Black people would have access to guns. From the Mulford Act, to the Gun Control Act of 1968, the NRA has supported and, to an extent, taken credit for these bills; a changed support of gun control (against Black people). These were also laws rather quickly passed after Black activists and organizations like Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party (BPP), respectively, began publicly discussing the importance of Black people bearing arms for self-defense. Because if Black people defended themselves against racist white people, then how could they then effectuate their racism?

+ 13 millennial women opened up to Bustle about how the election changed their friendships.

+ These are the 20 worst states for reproductive rights.

Media, Arts & Culture

+ 13 science fiction books with female protagonists to keep you busy this summer.

+ Who will Wonder Woman challenge in her sequel? Russia, perhaps?



Carmen Rios is a self-proclaimed feminist superstar and the former digital editor at Ms. Her writing on queerness, gender, race and class has been published in print and online by outlets including BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, DAME, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic, the National Women’s History Museum, SIGNS and the Women’s Media Center; and she is a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. @carmenriosss|carmenfuckingrios.com