Your weekly round up of stuff that actually happened this week:
1.) Ashley Judd launched an erudite attack on the media's overwhelming body focused mysogny. Choice quote: "The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about." Go Ashley.
2.) US Website Jezebel.com ran a story about an Indian beauty product which claims it can lighten the colour of your vagina (Your Vagina Isn’t Just Too Big, Too Floppy, and Too Hairy—It’s Also Too Brown"), thus giving us gals something else vajayjay related to be neurotic about. The justification postulated by a male advertising executive was that fairer skin reflects more light, and is therefore deemed attractive. Lindy West's blisteringly sarcastic response was: "We just want our vaginas to reflect more light—is that so wrong? I mean, WHAT IF MY CAR BREAKS DOWN AT NIGHT AND I DON'T HAVE A REFLECTIVE ENOUGH VAGINA? Really, the ultimate one-vagina-to-rule-them-all would glow in the dark like one of those deep-sea fishes. I need my vagina to attract more krill so my husband will fuck me again! (My husband is a whale.)"3.) The Daily Fail reported on a so-called "provocative study" which suggests that girls only want a career because they are failing to attract a man. "After collecting data from across the U.S., they found that as the number of eligible men in a state decreased, the proportion of women in highly paid careers rose", the study found, the obvious conclusion being that when there are fewer men to distract us with our cotton wooly ladybrains, we'll all go "fuck it, let's be independent." The trick they clearly missed, however, is that fewer men= less people likely to shit on your ambitions in the workplace=more success. The criteria by which they judged "eligibility", meanwhile, remains a mystery.
4.) Transgender contestants are to be allowed to take part in the Miss Universe beauty pageant for the first time. [Link]
5.) Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow's new Comedy 'Girls' launches on HBO tonight (and everywhere on the internet tomorrow). We loved Tiny Furniture and thus CAN.NOT.WAIT to see it. From the looks of the trailer, it's going to be good.
6.) Independent website blogger Laura Davis made a thinly veiled reference to The Vagenda in an article about the Twitter bullying that resulted in a German Reality TV contestant commiting suicide. She said: "a feminist group can rally under a pseudonym to persecute others and then criticise when someone dares write about their intimidating treatment...all morals are as good as pissed down society’s drain." Laura has beef with us because we, along with a load of clever journalists like the New Statesman's Helen Lewis, took objection to the fact that the Independent's Twitter Rankings contained scant few women, and, despite those rankings being entirely arbitrary, Davis took this as indicative of the fact that women don't support one another. We said, "bollocks!" because in our case, we wouldn't have got as big as we have without the support of the awesome women of twitter (some of whom include really brilliant women journalists who are doing a lot to further the feminist cause). But Laura didn't like being contradicted, and later on backed up Grazia's Polly Vernon when she had a toddler temper tantrum and accused us of being anti-feminist because we slag off other women. Not wanting to get into a row, we didn't respond. Disregarding the fact that Laura has manipulated a tragic news story in order to get in a jibe that is the product of a personal vendetta (- catharsis column alert! jolly poor show), it seems that we need to clarify our position. Which is as follows: If you are male, or female, and you write crap articles, we will tell you that you write crap articles. We are not "persecuting you" we are just telling you, usually as a one off blog post, that you could be better at your job. And we're not that anonymous- if you wanted to expend a little effort, you could find us. This is all we'll say on the matter, except this: comparing tongue in cheek criticism to the online bullying that provoked a poor woman's untimely death is-at best-hysterical and at worse, deeply cynical. And we're not especially pleased about it.
8.) The wonderful Women's Library, who have been lovely to us and who are in possession of 60,000 books and pamphlets relating to women's history, is facing a dramatic reduction in opening hours. You can sign the petition here.
9.) The Indian Times has rejected your classic "apple and pear" categorisations of women's body shapes in favour of the unusual and frankly barmy "butternut squash" "broccoli" and "carrot" options. I'm a butternut. Read it here [via Farzana Rahman]
10.) One of our eds' mums bought a beautiful house in the French countryside. It probably has asbestos.