Donald Trump and Masculinity as Motivator | History Matters

Thank you, a great insight to the image, ego, etc. of Trump. How anyone can support him is beyond my comprehension, but support him they do.

In addition to your insight, is it not true, that his supporters have no one other than Trump to cling to and to cast him out would mean they are on their own, which they feel they have been for far too long.

He is their last hope, in some ways their ‘Messiah’.

I do feel sorry for his supporters, that they have felt so alone and have to cling to Trump, the worst of ‘Mankind’.

Source: Donald Trump and Masculinity as Motivator | History Matters

Nationalist strongmen are bent on controlling women’s bodies | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

When Brazil, where I am writing from this week, became worried that almost two-thirds of its population was black or mixed race, radical steps were taken. Never mind that the blackness of its population was thanks to its own dependence on African slavery: in the first part of the 20th century, Brazil actively recruitedEuropean migrants with the explicit aim of whitening itself, or keeping, in the words of a presidential decree of 1945, “the most convenient features of its European ancestry”.

The resulting class and race inequalities in the South American country are part of a complex mix that has resulted in Brazil’s own variation on the populist theme. Now, under the Trump of the tropics, as Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is sometimes described, reproductive fascism is back, and focused – so far – on controlling women’s bodies.

One of Bolsonaro’s early acts in office was to replace the government department for human rights with a department for “family values”, and with a rightwing evangelical preacher at the helm. Damares Alves may have said she would help low-income women, but she is also anti-abortion, and is so comfortable with post-truth leadership that she has claimed the Dutch are taught to masturbate from the age of seven months.

In her wisdom, Alves has in turn appointed another woman to run public policy for motherhood. For this she chose Sara Winter, formerly a member of the feminist group Femen but now someone who credits Christianity with “curing” her feminism.

Populist strongmen love a good female antifeminist. Donald Trump recently appointed Rebecca Kleefisch – a conservative former TV anchor who says women should be subservient to their husbands – as the new head of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Such appointments must be great fun for populist misogynist men – you get to kill two birds with one stone. First you weaponise anti-women’s rights women against other women, thereby infuriating feminists – who hate you anyway – while simultaneously reducing initiatives that were designed to promote gender equality to a laughing stock, which serves your interests quite nicely.

But when anti-women policies are masquerading as those intended to help women, things get more complicated. Take Poland’s Family 500+ measure, for example, a policy introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party that gives families 500 złotys (£100) a month for each second and subsequent child. As someone who cares equally about the suffering of low-income mothers and child poverty, I’m all for helping families with children. But the idea that assistance for those in poverty is conditional on obedient reproduction is verging on the dystopian.


Source: Nationalist strongmen are bent on controlling women’s bodies | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

Thong protest in Belfast raises concerns over rape trials | UK news | The Guardian

It was a mere scrap of fabric, deep blue and edged with lace. But when the legislator Ruth Coppinger drew it from her sleeve and held it up in the Irish parliament this week, the item of women’s underwear caused consternation among her colleagues.

Elsewhere, women took to the streets carrying lingerie. In Cork, dozens of thongs were laid on the steps of the courthouse. In Belfast on Thursday, protesters tied knickers to placards and chanted: “My little black dress does not mean yes.”

Thousands of women posted pictures of their underwear on Twitter under the hashtags #IBelieveHer and #ThisIsNotConsent.

The trigger for protests across Ireland, and the eruption of fury on social media, was the words of a lawyer defending a man accused of rape in a trial in Cork.

Suggesting the complainant – 17-year-old woman – was “open to meeting someone”, Elizabeth O’Connell said: “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

The defendant was acquitted in a unanimous verdict following deliberations by the jury lasting 90 minutes.

According to Fiona Ryan, a city councillor in Cork, anger over the defence counsel’s comments on 6 November took a few days to build.

“It didn’t blow up at first, it was almost a delayed reaction. But it festered,” she said. Ryan suggested staging a protest in Cork on Wednesday, eight days after the end of the trial, and was astonished when up to 500 people turned up to take part, many carrying items of underwear.


Source: Thong protest in Belfast raises concerns over rape trials | UK news | The Guardian

10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia | Global development | The Guardian

A 10-year-old girl has died after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, the first confirmed death in years in a country where complications from the procedure are generally denied, activists claim.

Deeqa Dahir Nuur was taken on 14 July to a traditional cutter in the her village of Olol, roughly 65km from Dhusmareb, in central Galmudug state.

The operation severed a vein, and when the family were still unable to stem the haemorrhaging two days later, the girl was taken to Dhusmareb hospital, where she bled to death, said activist Hawa Aden Mohamed of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development.

The Galmudug state minister for women’s affairs visited the family in hospital to offer condolences and explain the risk of death in FGM operations.

But action over Deeqa’s is unlikely. “The woman who performed the operation has not been arrested, but even if she was, there is no law that would ensure she is punished for the act,” said Mohamed.

“It is difficult to estimate the number of girls who die due to FGM per month or per day because they are [sworn] to secrecy, particularly in rural areas. We only get to hear of the few cases of those bold enough to seek medical treatment in towns. But from the stories we do hear, they could be in their dozens.”

The death is the most high profile confirmed in Somalia, where 98% of women and girls are cut, the highest percentage anywhere in the world. Activists hope the publicity surrounding her death may help debunk myths in Somalia that FGM is safe.


Source: 10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia | Global development | The Guardian

Disabled workers paid £2,730 a year less than non-disabled workers : Welfare Weekly

A new TUC report published today (Friday) finds that the disability pay gap has increased to its highest level since 2013.

In 2017 average hourly pay for disabled workers was £9.90, compared to £11.40 for non-disabled workers – a disability pay gap of £1.50 an hour and £2,730 a year.

The disability pay gap has now reached 15% – its highest level since 2013 when the government began publishing comparable data using the 2010 Equality Act definition of disability.

The new report is published to coincide with the TUC’s annual Disabled Workers Conference, which this year takes place in Bournemouth.

It finds that disabled people are less likely to be in employment – and when employed they are paid less than their non-disabled peers.

The other key findings include:


Source: Disabled workers paid £2,730 a year less than non-disabled workers : Welfare Weekly

How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age – The Conversation

Research into how we can keep our brains healthy as we age has gained momentum in recent years. There is now an increased focus on the changes that we can makes to our health and lifestyle, which may prevent dementia. Here are some things that research has shown reduce a person’s risk of cognitive decline with age.


Our latest study shows that having more sex is associated with better cognitive function.

We recruited 28 men and 45 women, aged between 50 and 83, to take part in our study. We found that those who had sex weekly scored on average 2% higher on some cognitive tests than those who had sex monthly, and 4% higher than those who never had sex. These results were shown on tests of verbal fluency (such as naming as many animals as possible in one minute) and visuo-spatial abilities (drawing familiar objects from memory or copying complex pictures).

The association could be the result of the heightened levels of intimacy and companionship inherent in sexual relationships (that is, an increase in social contact), or there could be a purely biological explanation – where regular surges in arousal and release of sex-related hormones

Source: How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age

End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House | Barbara Kingsolver | Opinion | The Guardian

When I was a girl of 11 I had an argument with my father that left my psyche maimed. It was about whether a woman could be the president of the US.

How did it even start? I was no feminist prodigy, just a shy kid who preferred reading to talking; politics weren’t my destiny. Probably, I was trying to work out what was possible for my category of person – legally, logistically – as one might ask which kinds of terrain are navigable for a newly purchased bicycle. Up until then, gender hadn’t darkened my mental doorway as I followed my older brother into our daily adventures wearing hand-me-down jeans.

But in adolescence it dawned on me I’d be spending my future as a woman, and when I looked around, alarm bells rang. My mother was a capable, intelligent, deeply unhappy woman who aspired to fulfilment as a housewife but clearly disliked the job. I saw most of my friends’ mothers packed into that same dreary boat. My father was a country physician, admired and rewarded for work he loved. In my primordial search for a life coach, he was the natural choice.

I probably started by asking him if girls could go to college, have jobs, be doctors, tentatively working my way up the ladder. His answers grew more equivocal until finally we faced off, Dad saying, “No” and me saying, “But why not?” A female president would be dangerous. His reasons vaguely referenced menstruation and emotional instability, innate female attraction to maternity and aversion to power, and a general implied ickyness that was beneath polite conversation.

Source: End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House | Barbara Kingsolver | Opinion | The Guardian

Equal Pay Day: When, where and why women earn less than men

Pay rates should relate to the job and not be by the gender, race, disability or age of the persons doing the job, This should already be so and not in times to come. Not one person should encounter discrimination.

Equal Pay Day: When, where and why women earn less than men

Everyone should get paid the same no matter if your woman or a man or transgender but if you have the background if you can do the work and are qualified you should get the same pay. It’s just against someone sits against every woman civil rights to not have equal pay. If you’re free woman stood up for herself and band together, we could raise the amount limit yet but we’d have to work together.

Paulette Motzko

April 13th 2016

7:47 a.m.

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So a drive to get more women into top jobs will be led by a man. How insulting | Sophie Walker | Opinion | The Guardian

The appointment of Sir Philip Hampton perpetuates the myth that women don’t make good business leaders – and is a huge lost opportunity

Source: So a drive to get more women into top jobs will be led by a man. How insulting | Sophie Walker | Opinion | The Guardian