This Year’s Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival Will Be the Last

From She Wired:  http://www.shewired.com/music/2015/04/21/years-michigan-womyns-music-festival-will-be-last

The 40-year-old festival, the subject of controversy in recent years, ‘is coming to a time of closure,’ says its founder and organizer.

By: Trudy Ring
April 21 2015

The 40th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, to be held this August, will be the last, its founder announced today.

The storied women-only event, first held in 1976, has been the subject of controversy in recent years because of its exclusion of transgender women, with many artists and organizations deciding to boycott. Founder and organizer Lisa Vogel gave no reason for ending the fest, however, in a Facebook post announcing the decision.

“We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the Festival was coming to a time of closure,” she wrote. “Too often in our culture, change is met only with fear, the true cycle of life is denied to avoid the grief of loss. But change is the ultimate truth of life. Sisters — I ask you to remember that our 40 year Festival has outlived nearly all of her kin. She has served us well. I want us all to have the opportunity to experience the incredible full life cycle of our beloved Festival, consciously, with time to celebrate and yes, time to grieve.”

She acknowledged, “There have been struggles; there is no doubt about that. This is part of our truth, but it is not — and never has been — our defining story. The Festival has been the crucible for nearly every critical cultural and political issue the lesbian feminist community has grappled with for four decades. Those struggles have been a beautiful part of our collective strength; they have never been a weakness.” She urged the “Festival family” to “please take what you love about Michigan and use it to create something new and beautiful.”

The exclusion of transgender women from the fest has led performers such as the Indigo Girls, Antigone Rising, and Lea DeLaria to withdraw from the event, and last year several national LGBT organizations signed on to a petition from statewide LGBT group Equality Michigan calling on the festival to change its rule limiting attendance to “womyn-born-womyn.” Festival organizers have said this is not a formal policy but rather an “intention” that puts “the onus on each individual to choose whether or how to respect it,” but petitioners said that did not equate to inclusion and noted that the controversy dated back to a transgender woman being thrown out of the festival in 1991. Just in the last couple of weeks, however, three signatories withdrew their endorsement of the petition.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights “has removed our name from the petition and will be actively engaged in conversations in which we honor our differences while also pursuing a conclusion that supports the gender identity and inclusion of all women in Michfest,” wrote NCLR executive director Kate Kendell in an April 8 letter to Vogel, posted by the online publication TransAdvocate, which withdrew as well.“We have faith that such a resolution is possible.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.shewired.com/music/2015/04/21/years-michigan-womyns-music-festival-will-be-last

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Screw leaning in. It’s time to slam the door in Silicon Valley’s face

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/15/screw-leaning-in-its-time-to-slam-the-door-in-silicon-valleys-face

Opting out of sexist workplaces is straight out of the universe of boycotts and strikes. It acknowledges that this is a political problem, not one to be solved by HR


15 April 2015

Women in tech have been told to lean in, back off, be bigger blowhards and simultaneously let others shine. But by far the most inspiring – and probably the most effective – piece of advice is the one found on the otherwise rather mysterious new website tableflip.club: “Fuck that, we’re done. It’s not us, it’s you.”

Meaningful change, the anonymous woman behind the site told me over email, requires not just tweaking but reinvention from the top down: “It’s virtually impossible to change a sick system without being the one in charge.”

You can’t destroy the master’s house, it seems, when the master’s a tool.

Her site went up on Monday and hosts a single, 500-word piece of writing giving voice to years (or decades) of exasperation:

“When we try to play by the rules (which we do because we’ve seen what happens to women who don’t) we’re denied opportunities because we aren’t “ready” for them – and we are ALSO denied the things you say we need in order to BE ready. When we do these things without your corporate approval, we do it knowing that we may be the next woman who gets quietly fired for being too forward. When we try to take a seat at the table like Sheryl said we should, we’re called presumptuous.”

The solution: “It’s time we take our potential elsewhere.”

What makes her campaign so novel is that it applies the language and techniques of political activism to something that’s been treated as a business problem. Many self-help books and workshops designed to support women at work actually place the onus of responsibility on them, encouraging women to brag more but promise less, to be more assertive and less aggressive.

But the tableflip.club founder rejects the idea that women should try to adapt to the demands of an already-broken system in order to survive: “Flipping the tables takes the ‘just try harder, just sit at the table’ advice and flips it on its head. We’re already trying so goddamn hard and it’s not working, women are leaving in droves. So we need to change something”.

Opting out is straight out of the universe of boycotts and strikes. It acknowledges that the problems faced by women in tech are inherently political, and can’t be solved by a human resources department. The difficulties women face aren’t the problems of one woman, or one team or one company. They’re not just limited to Adria Richards or Brianna Wu or Ellen Pao; they’re not just Twitter with its no-women board or Wikipedia with its 91% male editors. The problems are systemic – and no amount of attitude adjustment or leaning in on the part of those who get screwed by the system can possible change it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/15/screw-leaning-in-its-time-to-slam-the-door-in-silicon-valleys-face

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Why is it okay to discriminate against women for religious reasons?

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-is-it-okay-to-discriminate-against-women-for-religious-reasons/2015/04/19/95939e9e-e519-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html


April 19, 2015

Not very long ago I met a young man at a business function. “Hello, I’m Amanda,” I said, sticking out my hand in greeting. He kept his arms glued to his side. “I don’t touch women,” he said.

He was, I realized belatedly, a deeply Orthodox Jew whose tradition prohibited even minor physical contact between men and women outside their families. I nodded politely and moved on. But the encounter deeply troubled me, then and now. Faced with someone who refused to shake my hand because of who I was, I defaulted to social courtesy, wishing neither to make a fuss nor disparage this young man’s religious beliefs.

Yet later I wondered: Why are biased acts against women — even religiously motivated ones — considered so much less toxic than biased acts of any other kind? Why do women often demur and accept humiliation rather than make a fuss? Why does respect even for admittedly extreme religious beliefs trump respect for half the human race?

My encounter came to mind again as I pondered recent stories of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refusing to take airline seats next to women. Several cases were reported in the New York Times this month. Others have appeared in the Israeli press as far back as 2012.

On some flights women reportedly moved when asked. Some men switched places with women to eliminate the adjacency problem. Some flight attendants assisted the Orthodox men in relocating. Yet when others did not, some flights were delayed as men refused to be seated. The incidents have spawned lively discussions among Jews and non-Jews alike.

Yet I wonder: Why are we even discussing this?

Would such blatant behavior be treated merely as a social choice, a courtesy issue or an awkward airline customer-service problem if the targets were anyone other than women?

Let’s test it. What if we recast my encounter, giving me a different race and gender. How do I react now if someone says, “I don’t touch black men.” Do I quietly move on? How would this young man have reacted had the tables been turned? What if I had done something I could never imagine myself doing? Would he have treated it as a social issue if I had refused his hand, saying: “I don’t shake hands with Jews?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-is-it-okay-to-discriminate-against-women-for-religious-reasons/2015/04/19/95939e9e-e519-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html

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Victim of Southold fire renowned feminist Sidney Abbott

Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love wrote “Sappho Was a Right On Woman”

From Southold Local:  http://southoldlocal.com/2015/04/15/victim-of-southold-fire-renowned-feminist-sidney-abbott/


Apr 15, 2015

The woman who died tragically in a house fire in Southold this morning was a well-known figure in the feminist movement who left a rich legacy.

Although police have not yet officially released the victim’s identity, multiple sources, including friends, her pastor, and Southold Fire Chief Peggy Killian confirmed that the woman, who was wheelchair-dependent and who lost her life was Sidney Abbott, 77, a world-renowned crusader in the women’s movement and co-author of  “Sappho Was a Right-on Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism”; the book was written with Barbara Love in 1971.

According to the Southold Fire Department, the fire broke out at 435 Willow Pond Lane, Abbott’s home, at approximately 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The Southold Town Police dispatch center was advised of a house fire at the above location by a private fire alarm company.

Killian said former Southold Fire Chief George Berry, Abbott’s next-door neighbor, tried valiantly to enter the house to save Abbott, who was home alone; he was “turned back by flames and heavy smoke,” a release from the Southold Police Department said.

Once fire department personnel entered the home, they found the female occupant of the house on the first floor; Killian said she was found in the living room, sitting in a recliner, a wheelchair nearby. Abbott had a home health aide who had already left for the day, Killian said.

Her dog, Killian said, was at the kennel and survived the blaze; a cat’s body was found at the scene.

Southold detectives, Suffolk County arson and homicide squads and the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office are all investigating the fire. Greenport and Cutchogue Fire Departments also responded to assist.

Continue reading at:  http://southoldlocal.com/2015/04/15/victim-of-southold-fire-renowned-feminist-sidney-abbott/

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World’s mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak of 42m tonnes

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/19/worlds-mountain-of-electrical-waste-reaches-new-peak-of-42m-tonnes

The biggest per-capita tallies were in countries known for green awareness, such as Norway and Denmark, with Britain fifth and US ninth on the UN report’s list

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste was discarded around the world in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said.

Last year, 41.8m tonnes of so-called e-waste – mostly fridges, washing machines and other domestic appliances at the end of their life – was dumped, the UN report said.

That’s the equivalent of 1.15m heavy trucks, forming a line 23,000km (14,300 miles) long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s educational and research branch.

Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, it said.

In 2013, the e-waste total was 39.8m tonnes – and on present trends, the 50-million-tonne mark could be reached in 2018.

Topping the list for per-capita waste last year was Norway, with 28.4kg (62.5lbs) per inhabitant.

It was followed by Switzerland (26.3kg), Iceland (26.1kg), Denmark (24.0kg), Britain (23.5kg), the Netherlands (23.4kg), Sweden (22.3kg), France (22.2kg) and the United States and Austria (22.1kg).

The region with the lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was Africa, with 1.7kg per person. It generated a total of 1.9m tonnes of waste.

In volume terms, the most waste was generated in the United States and China, which together accounted for 32% of the world’s total, followed by Japan, Germany and India.

Waste that could have been recovered and recycled was worth $52bn, including 300 tonnes of gold – equal to 11% of the world’s gold production in 2013.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/19/worlds-mountain-of-electrical-waste-reaches-new-peak-of-42m-tonnes

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Grayson on Money & Politics: “If We Do Nothing, We Can Kiss This Country Goodbye. Well, Pucker Up”

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Why Gay Rights Trumps Women’s Rights

From In These Times:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/17864/why-gay-rights-trumps-womens-rights

Why aren’t we standing up against the assault on women’s rights?

BY Marilyn Katz
April 17, 2015

Well, finally someone’s finally pointed out what I (and I imagine many others) have been thinking about but have been hesitant to point out, while gay rights are doing great, women’s rights have gone down the tube. And, as bad, men don’t seem to care.

Bringing these nasty inverse trends to light was Gail Collins who in her April 3 New York Times column contrasted the uproar over potential discrimination against same-sex couples with the silence that met the passage of new anti-abortion laws in Texas and Arizona.

While the Indiana law created an instant call for boycotts and mobilized a broad swath of opposition—including from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, so great that Governor Pence and the legislature mounted a hasty retreat, as did those in Arkansas—not a word of ire was spoken about the egregious acts in Texas.

Back home in Indiana at the same time the wrath of entertainers, business leaders and politicians was focused on the potential harm to gays, Purvi Patel, a 33-year-old Indiana resident, became the first person in the history of the United States to be prosecuted, tried and convicted of feticide—for what she says was a miscarriage and the State argued was an illegal abortion.

Yet for this actual, not theoretical, harm to a woman, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, there was no outcry, no threat of boycott and very little news coverage.

While I and most other feminists applaud the successful protests against Indiana’s retrograde actions and have been among the most staunch defenders of gay rights—and in fact I would argue that we are the birth mothers of the movement through our insistence on decoupling sex from procreation—I find the disparate trajectories of our movements and society’s disparate response to our injuries more than a little disturbing.

While same sex marriage laws have been approved in 37 states and the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the laws of the 13 states where such marriages were banned, nearly 100 years after its introduction, the Equal Rights Amendment for women still languishes.

While I laud the fact that gay men have fought for and won the $24.1 billion that the federal government allocates each year to fight HIV and the 56,000 new cases that arise each year, I cannot help but compare this amount to the less than $600 million the our government spends on breast cancer for which there are 231,840 new cases and 40,290 deaths each year.

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/17864/why-gay-rights-trumps-womens-rights

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