Covering the Coverage: Some Newsy Things You Might Have Missed

This week in ladyblog-land: the feminist leanings of 'American Horror Story: Coven,' the perils of performing while black, and reactions to a Slate writer's hateful rape-denialism.

Oct 20, 2013 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

Hi there, and welcome to Covering the Coverage, your weekly roundup of notable bits of lady-news items from the past week. Let's get started, shall we? Please tell us what you were reading about, thinking about, and discussing lately, too, in the comments section.

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A pretty California view to ponder on a Sunday. No correlation with news or lady blogs, sorry.

  • Ann Friedman wrote an excellent takedown of Emily Yoffe's foul, offensive rape-denialist Slate post (won't link, sorry -- you know, the piece that told college girls to stop drinking so much if they want to avoid getting raped). Read Ann's awesomeness and weep/laugh/yell/whatever. What's the best response piece you've seen?
  • Bitch mag posted a point-counterpoint arguing the feminist cred of "American Horror Story: Coven." The show's only been on for 3 weeks, but I'm really into it  -- much more so than last season's ridic "Asylum." Apparently the show's executive producer talked about a "feminist theme" pervading this season; if you haven't been watching, it focuses on a home for young wayward witches in New Orleans, led by a scary/powerful "supreme" witch, Jessica Lange. It also features some grand new cast additions, like Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Gabourey Sidibe, Patti LuPone and Frances Conroy. Have you been watching? Thoughts, please!
  • Earlier in the week, Monica Byrne, an aspiring writer for Scientific American's blog, detailed an icky coffee meeting she had with SciAm's blog editor, Bora Zivkovic. Thinking they were meeting on a professional basis to discuss her interest in writing for the blog, Byrne was horrified when Zinvkovic "began telling me about his dissatisfaction with his current sex life with his wife. Then he reminded me that he was 'a very sexual person.' Then he told me, in an awful lot of detail, about how he almost had an affair with a younger woman he’d been seeing at conferences." Byrne's post sparked a torrent of disbelief from Zivkovic's friends/supporters on Twitter; it also sparked additional claims of harassing behavior from 2 SciAm bloggers. (Zivkovic has resigned from his job.)
  • Yay -- in a bit promising news for repro health, last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 154, legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. The new law authorizes trained Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) to offer first-trimester abortions under the terms of their licenses (they can already offer abortion via medications).
  • Also in Cali, the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival is running a Kickstarter campaign to help it keep on rolling. Donate, maybe?
  • Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will be hosting the next two Golden Globes Awards shows! GTFO. Excite.
  • Something new to get really f*cking pissed about: Private Christian schools are exploiting local laws to raise money, while taking it upon themselves to expel students for not being heterosexual. Rolling Stone writer Alex Morris notes, "Many Christian schools in Georgia and across the nation have similar policies, sometimes explicitly written into a pledge that students or their parents must sign when they enroll. At certain schools, a student need not even engage in acts of sexual "impurity"; simply identifying as gay or acting in support of a gay friend can lead to dismissal."
  • Aisha Harris at Slate wrote an interesting piece about "the perils of karaoke while black." She recalled how, after a recent karaoke performance of J.Lo's "I'm Real" during which she and her boyfriend flubbed the lyrics but had fun anyway, she was surprised by the roaring applause her performance was met with, and the fact that people approached her afterward to give her effusive compliments on her kind-of "meh" performance. She writes, "The barrage of accolades caught me off guard. And I had to wonder, as Syl Johnson did in his oft-sampled blues song about black oppression in 1970: 'Is it because I’m black?' … I’m not alone in this: A friend of mine—who does not share my vocal training—recalls the time she and her cousin sang karaoke and decided to perform 'Closer' by Nine Inch Nails. Presumably in part because black girls aren’t supposed to know who NIN is, they were greeted with a “standing ovation, some ‘amens' and ‘you go girl!’

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