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the f-word

Dear Said It,

I was browsing ... and saw a link to Said It. I'm just writing to say -- wow! What an excellent site. I wish I'd found it earlier! The content is great and it looks fantastic -- it is also easy to get around the site. Brilliant!

It’s inspirational for me as I'm trying to do a similar thing with my recently launched website (ezine) http://www.thefword.org.uk, a site for British feminists (because there seems to be very little of this type of thing happening in the UK -- not that I know of anyway!)

Well, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Said It and wish you all the best. I have signed up to the updates list on Yahoo.

Best wishes,
Catherine Redfern


The Indecency of the FCC

First of all, thanks for the Madonna video article. I had no idea. That is awesome, and no surprise that VH1 and MTV take the conservative line.

I'm wondering if your news staff is aware of what I consider to be an act of censorship by the FCC. A hip-hop song written by Sarah Jones, a spoken-word artist, playwright, and performer has been banned from airwave play. The song is entitled "Your Revolution," and came under scrunity at Portland's KBOO-FM station.

The song itself was originally a poem lambasting mainstream hip-hop, and its take and treatment of women. According to the FCC, this song is classified as "patently offensive," therefore equating this piece with the work of rapper Eminem.

This is a situation where the feminist movement needs to speak out and raise awareness of the situation. Apparently women in hip-hop music are supposed to say the "right" thing or not be heard at all, and the FCC isn't interested in paying enough attention to the lyrics of a song to identify its actual intent -- a dangerous game considering the authority of the FCC.

I would love to see this covered, and soon. It is a timely and important matter. Thank you!

Sarah Mercure

Thanks for writing, Sarah. See our coverage in Heard This and Action Alert. -- eds.


More on Maryam

Dear Said It,

I think the author missed something important in this article about Maryam Ayoobi, an Iranian woman in her twenties and mother of three young children who was convicted of adultery in March. (“Struggles and Brutality in Iran” by Lynette Dumble, May/June)

Lynette Dumble doesn't mention what Maryam is being really being punished for! Is she a feminist activist? Was she falsely accused of "adultery"? Or did she simply let her passion over take her causing her to put herself and her children into danger?

I've done quite a bit of work in women's jails and correctional institutions here in California, and I know firsthand that a lot of women in these facilities were falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit. I believe that straightening out the justice system, replacing incompetent judges with qualified judges should be the first priority of the feminist movement. It's the single problem we have been facing as women for centuries. Yet, the problem is never addressed at meetings.

Hagdoll

Lynette Dumble responds:

Dear Hagdoll, You are absolutely correct that I missed something important about Maryam Ayoobi, namely her background, but for the very simple reason that I don't know whether her conviction was for political or religious reasons. You mention that women are falsely convicted in California. It's my gut feeling that the same is true, only more frequently and with harsher penalties, in regions around the world where religious fundamentalism holds sway, but in the absence of solid evidence my gut feeling remains just that. Hopefully, the evidence will surface in other feminist writings or in human rights campaigns.

As far as Maryam Ayoobi was concerned, her death sentence would be more outrageous if the accusation was untrue, but when it all boils down "stoned to death" is "stoned to death", a barbaric practice which reflects the savagery of fundamentalist regimes like that prevailing in Iran. You will note that I use past tense re Maryam Ayoobi; the sad truth being that after a year of imprisonment, she was stoned to death on July 11. If nothing else, Maryam's execution undermines claims that Iran's re-elected president Mohammed Khatami is a reformist, and already the International Committee against Stoning, made up of 150 organisations, bodies and individuals, is demanding that those responsible be put on trial for their crime against humanity.

Lastly, I agree that there is a universal and pressing need for judges with integrity, but as is often the case, lawyers with strong feminist values contend with their own enemies within the justice system. And while hesitant to be pessimistic, I can't see the legal princes of patriarchy letting go in my lifetime.

In sisterhood,
Lynette.


Attack on Tacoma Clinic

To the editor,

Radical Women deplores the attack on Westgate Family Medicine, the Tacoma clinic of Dr. Douglas Attig. For the police to say that there is no apparent motive for the bombing is obviously absurd. Abortions performed there make this clinic the target of anti-abortion terrorists, whose bombs and assassinations have affected people all over the United States and Canada. The destruction caused by this explosion is just one more murderous assault on women's hard-won right to abortion.

Abortion is a legal procedure. It is a necessary option for women facing difficult medical and personal decisions, and it is a fundamental right for women. The clinic bombers and the assassins have established a climate of fear which forces clinics to close and makes women's health care harder to find. This pattern has in particular penalized poor and young women whose resources are limited. We see these clinic bombings as a clear violation of women's right to choose medical procedures on the basis of their individual personal and health needs. They are a pure and simple infringement of women's right to control their own bodies and lives! The people of Washington state have let their voices be clearly heard on this issue by legalizing the right to abortion even before the Roe v. Wade decision. We have defeated measures designed to limit access to abortion and have emphatically said that we will not allow either government or bullies to tell us when and if we'll have children. We urge people of conscience everywhere to defend the right to abortion.

Radical women is a socialist and feminist organization dedicated to improving the lives of all women. We have worked hard to make abortion legal in Washington state and strive to keep it legal nationally. We will not return to the days of illegal abortions and the suffering and deaths they cause.

Janet Sutherland
Radical Women


A Call for Papers

Call for Feminist Essays Against Prostitution and Pornography

*** Please forward widely ***

Submissions are invited for an anthology of feminist writings against prostitution and pornography. The main goals for the anthology are as follows:

to educate readers as to why prostitution and pornography are harmful, and their role in perpetuating male dominance;

to show readers that feminist work against prostitution and pornography is being done; and to show readers what they can do to end prostitution and pornography.

The anthology will strengthen and broaden the feminist movement against prostitution and pornography. This is a place for feminist writers, thinkers, and activists of all ages, races, classes, educational levels, sexual orientations, and abilities to share testimony, theory, and reports of their activism around these issues with a broad audience.

Definition of Prostitution:

Prostitution includes sex for survival needs; massage parlors; prostitution rings; stripping; saunas; live sex shows; adult and child pornography; street prostitution; escort services or outcall; peep shows; phone sex; international and domestic trafficking; mail order bride services; and prostitution tourism.

Following are some possible topics for submissions, but please don't be limited by these suggestions!

Suggested Topics:

*Race, class, and disability as they relate to prostitution/pornography and the feminist movement against prostitution/pornography;

*Philosophical issues, especially how consent and choice relate to prostitution/pornorgraphy;

*Activism: teaching anti-prostitution/pornography perspectives in the classroom; grassroots organizing; civil disobedience; direct actions;

*Testimony by survivors, especially pieces that discuss the difficulties and triumphs of survivor-led activism;

*Legal solutions: obscenity laws versus civil rights remedies; tort laws; free speech and pornography; decriminalization versus legalization;

*Social services that focus on the needs of women and children escaping prostitution;

*Lesbian, gay and bisexual politics in relation to prostitution/pornography;

*Lesbian S/M politics, queer politics and their relation to prostitution/pornography;

*Internet pornography; child pornography; adult pornography;

*Globalization and prostitution/pornography;

*International trafficking;

*Anti-semitism and prostitution/pornography;

*Prostitution/pornography as sexual slavery and torture;

*Psychological and physical harm of prostitution/pornography;

*The possibilities and realities of "feminist erotica";

*Essays focusing on the men who buy and sell women and children in prostitution/pornography;

*Men's place/work in ending prostitution/pornography;

*Feminization of poverty, welfare cuts and other economic conditions that drive women into prostitution;

*Linking prostitution/pornography with other social justice issues such as homelessness, poverty, incest, racism, racist hate speech, battered women's shelters, rape crisis centers;

*Mainstream media's relation to and promotion of prostitution/pornography;

*Sports and military in relation to prostitution/pornography;

*Pornography and sexual harassment;

*Liberal versus radical feminist politics;

*Criminal justice system's relation to prostitution/pornography;

*Marriage and prostitution/pornography;

*Postmodernism and prostitution/pornography.

Send inquiries and submissions to: somethingnew012001@yahoo.com or Christine Grussendorf at P.O. Box 600336 St. Paul, MN USA 55106

Christine Grussendorf and Rebecca Whisnant, co-editors

Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2002.

In Minneapolis in 1998, Andrea Dworkin spoke on prostitution and activism. Her speech marked fifteen years after the civil rights Ordinance against pornography was originally introduced in Minneapolis. At the end of Dworkin's speech, she said when something ends, something new must begin. This book is our response to her call for renewed activism against prostitution and pornography.



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