Congratulations to the Buranovskiye Babushki

Eurovision’s over all second place winners for 2012!

We noted some months ago that their performances seemed a remarkable combination of women’s traditional crafts and a very modern setting. We might – although reluctantly – see the NY Times as getting at a similar thought:

Eurovision is known for its over-the-top kitsch, but, even by its standards, there was something remarkable about grannies from the central Russian republic of Udmurtia, not far from where the Ural Mountains border on Siberia.

The Babushki, with an average age of 75, finished second over all with a jaunty pop song called “Party for Everybody.”

Wearing head scarves and traditional dresses and coin jewelry, they bounced up and down, waving their arms, smiling mischievously. They performed with a steaming oven as a prop on stage, and, at one point during their stay in Baku, they baked trays of perepechi, a traditional dish of meat and vegetable tartlets that they served to the Eurovision press corps.

And here they are:

critical thinking class assignment: Left tolerant of misogyny?

(Thanks to EM for alerting us to the Slate blog post.)

Evaluate the following argument from a slate blog:

Conclusion:  the left is showing that it’s just fine with misogyny and violence against women as long as the women in question aren’t card-carrying liberal feminists.

Premise One: Donna Dewitt, the outgoing president of AFL-CIO South Carolina, bashed a piñata bearing a photograph of Gov. Nikki Haley, while men and women in the crowd shouted “Whack her harder” and “hit her again.” Dewitt continues to smack the piñata long after it’s knocked down, which is a nice touch.

(See the video below for a idea of the size of the crowd urging Dewill on.)

Premise Two: Elsewhere, Hustler has published an image—“a composite fantasy” in the magazine’s description—of conservative commentator S.E. Cupp with a phallus in her mouth.

Premise 3: … incidents like this happen with such frequency and casualness that it’s clear people think there won’t be any pushback if they attack a conservative woman.

With regard to the first premise, note Dewitt and the crowd:

With regard to the third premise, consider this from The Nation:

Feminists: Time to Stand With S.E. Cupp
Katha Pollitt on May 25, 2012 – 10:34 AM ET
Earlier this spring, Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” for arguing that contraception should be covered by health insurance. This week, Larry Flynt PhotoShopped a picture of conservative pundit S.E. Cupp to look like she had a penis in her mouth and published it in Hustler as “satire’—Cupp wants to defund Planned Parenthood, you see. No? I didn’t either. This degrading image has nothing to do with political satire and everything to do with wanting to put an outspoken woman in her place—on her knees with a dick in her mouth to shut her up. It’s a pornographic version of “Iron my shirt” and “Make me a sammich.”

Hustler may not be a beacon of the liberal media, as conservatives are gleefully claiming—but it’s all too maddeningly true that misogyny can be found all over the political spectrum, and needs to be denounced, by both men and women, wherever it appears. When it comes to women exercising their right to participate in public debate, we are all Sandra Fluke, and we are all S.E. Cupp as well.

What you can do:

Sign The Women’s Media Center statement of solidarity with Cupp, e-mail it to your friends, and post it on your Facebook page.

Tweet your support at #IStandWithSECupp.

Let the media—left, right, center—know that the crude sexualization of women who voice their opinions in public is not “satire.” It’s misogyny.

Afghan schoolgirls ‘poisoned by Taliban’

More than 120 schoolgirls and 3 teachers have been poisoned in a second attack on classrooms in two months. The attack happened in Takhar province. Toxic chemicals were released into the air inside the school, and left many pupils unconscious. Last month, 150 schoolgirls in the same province were poisoned after drinking contaminated water. Police and education officials blame the attacks on the Taliban, under whose rule it was illegal for women to work or receive education. You can read more from Al Jazeera.

Amy Allen on the “Mommy Wars” in the NY Times

Feminist philosopher gets it so very, very right:

If the “the conflict” continues to be framed as one between women — between liberal and cultural feminists, or between stay at home mothers and working women, or between affluent professionals and working class women, or between mothers and childless women — it will continue to distract us from what we should really be doing: working together — women and men together— to change the cultural, social and economic conditions within these crucial choices are made.

Conference: Feminist Philosophy and Essentialism (Berlin)


Dates: 19 – 20th of July 2012
Location: Senatssaal, Humboldt-Universität Main Building (Unter den Linden 6), Berlin


Would you be the same individual if you were gendered differently? The workshop asks this and related questions with a special emphasis on Charlotte Witt’s recent book The Metaphysics of Gender (Oxford University Press, 2011). According to Witt, most ordinary social agents find the answer to the above question to be an obvious ‘No!’ and they have no difficulties providing an intuitive answer. By contrast, most academic feminists working on gender find the answer neither obvious nor easy. What generates such divergent views and why are ordinary agents so secure in their gender ascriptions? In her book, Witt provides an articulation of this and offers an account of gender essentialism that is based on Aristotelian unification essentialism: gender (being a woman/ man) functions to unify social individuals so that an individual – rather than an aggregate of diverse parts – exists. The workshop interrogates Witt’s view, considers alternatives to it and discusses the role of gender essentialism in feminist philosophy.

Dan López de Sa (ICREA and Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
Eva von Redecker (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Natalie Stoljar (McGill University, Canada)
Alison Stone (Lancaster University, UK)
Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire, USA)

Attendance is free but places are limited. To register, please email feminismhu AT by 30th of June 2012.

We hope to be able to provide travel bursaries for students/ unwaged participants. If you would like to be considered for one, or have any queries regarding the Symposium Series/ this event, please contact the organiser Mari Mikkola (mari.mikkola AT