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Weekly News Round-Up, Things to Unsee Edition

June 13, 2010

I had to look at the Cosmo website for a reason unrelated to my own interests/reading. There are no words for the steaming pile of bullsh*t-distractions-for-women that I found there. Apparently there is an article I might be interested in, but I could not will myself to find it.

[warning for implied sexual violence]
Something else I want to unsee – B pointed out this ridiculous game called “icing” in which dudes play by presenting each other with an otherwise unpalatable barely alcoholic beverage and being forced to drink it. As she notes in her piece for the Scene’s blog, it’s not so much the game itself, as the language around it, especially on a website for the game. Like, “there is nothing more insulting than being forced to take and knee and publicly…[drink Smirnoff Ice].” And “Why can’t I Ice a fellow bro with a Mike’s Hard or another type of bitch beer?”

You kind of have to wonder if it’s not one of the world’s most sexist and idiotic social media campaigns ever imagined, since it could increase sales without anyone ever having to actually like the drink (per the game rules). Smirnoff’s official response was apparently:

“Icing is consumer-generated, and some people think it is fun,” a company statement read. “We never want under-age ‘icing’ and we always want responsible drinking.”

You know what it should have been?

While we’re always glad to see people buying our products and encouraging other adult consumers to do the same, the way “icing” is being promoted by [website I’m not going to link to] seems to suggest that the game is built on an idea that only women drink our beverages and that being like a woman is a bad thing. It also carries some troubling language that implies drinking Smirnoff is equivalent to public sexual violence as well as other sexist and homophobic implications. We obviously don’t think this is appropriate and will be taking action with regards to our intellectual property to discourage the promotion of our brand in this way. (PR, the WHN anti-sexistviolence version)

Ugh. Here, have a cat picture.

two cats sleeping in a basket

Okay, on to other things.

Babeland has an instruction on How To Travel With Sex Toys.

The Well-Timed Period sorts out some confusion in media coverage of the ellaOne emergency contraceptive.

The blogger at BirthingBeautifulIdeas asks “Has ACOG Been Listening to Birth Advocates?” – based on an editorial in the most recent issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. For various reasons, I suspect there will be more to make us ask this question in the very near future.

Robin at RHRC explains that Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist vetoed a forced-ultrasound-before-abortion law.

One blogger at the Unnecesarean asks Do Overweight Pregnant Women Need Separate High-Risk Hospitals?

At Our Bodies Our Blog this week, I have a follow-up post on the CDC’s new contraception safety document, outlining some gaps in the research. OBOS also has the Word by Word campaign in progress, in which donors can get their name in the upcoming 2011 40th anniversary edition of the book (with personal messages at some levels).

Lots of videos from the Women Deliver conference are now available online,

Breastfeeding Medicine has a piece on what feminism has to do with breastfeeding, arguing that “the ultimate link between breastfeeding and feminism is that in a truly equitable society, women would have the capacity to fulfill to pursue both their productive and reproductive work without penalty.”

The Nation has a piece, When Teen Pregnancy Is No Accident, on reproductive coercion (such as birth control sabotage).

Dr. Isis on boys and girls and math and science and bulls*t stereotypes.

I had to include the Evil Monkey’s post both for its title/topic – Friday Weird Science: FINALLY, a clitoris study! – and for use of the phrase “pubmed-fu.”

The State Department announced a new policy on gender and passports:

Beginning June 10, when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender…No additional medical records are required. Sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance.

This is good, for both easing hassles and keeping people safe. Cara at the Curvature has further discussion.

FWD/Forward is announcing a Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswarm on June 19. I don’t know much about Keller, but the post offers a couple of links to info and discussion about problematic representations of her and the exclusion of non-white, non-US women from narratives about women and disability.

PBS’s NewsHour has discussion of possible health effects of the oil spill.

ACNM has a winner in their 3rd Annual ACNM Video Contest: Become a Midwife.

Finally, it’s not directly women’s health-related (although I suppose one could make an unpayable prices=cancellations=less access to medical evidence for providers=less informed medical care argument…), but I’d like to point to the current kerfuffle between Nature Publishing Group and the University of California system. The story involves high price increases from Nature and the UC system’s response, which may include not only canceling library subscriptions to all Nature publications for the whole system, but a boycott which would have all UC folks end any volunteer editing, peer reviewing, or authoring and submitting of articles that they contribute to the Nature system.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great intro, including the original letter that sparked the discussion. It’s all very interesting to me because these types of negotiations typically would happen in private, and as much as we talk about drawing the line with big publishers, this provides a chance to watch somebody (maybe) do it. See also:

For all of the scientist-types and others who have started following the Nature conversation and are concerned about how federally-funded research ends up behind a Nature (or other) paywall, you might consider learning about and supporting FRPAA, the Federal Research Public Access Act. This act would require federal agencies and departments with annual extramural research budgets of over $100 million to make manuscripts resulting from this federally funded research to be deposited for online public access. It’s like a broader version of the NIH’s public access policy, expanding the access requirement to research funded by the Departments of Education, Defense, and Energy, the National Science Foundation, and others. Here’s a fact sheet [PDF] from the Medical Library Association’s Governmental Relations Committee (of which I’m a new member).

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