Wednesday WTF is this I don't even...

Last week it was partial clitoridectomies on intersex children and/or girls deemed to have "abnormally large" clitorises, and doctors using a vibrator on them to "test sensitivity".  

This week?  Experimental, off-label use of a drug contraindicated for pregnant women, given to women pregnant with fetuses suspected of having congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) - an intersex condition whereby a female (XX chromosomes) fetus develops "masculinized" genitalia - *without* the oversight or approval of an IRB. They allege that this off-label usage will "...restore this baby to the normal female appearance...compatible with her parents presenting her as a girl, with her eventually becoming somebody’s wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother."

So these doctors, and these parents-to-be, are willing to give/take potentially dangerous drugs that have *not* been approved for this activity, purely so that their daughters' bits will "look right" according to their definition of what women's bits should look like.  As if a child born with "ambiguous genitals" is incapable of growing up, having "normal sexual development" - and who defines "normal" for this, anyway? - and, if she chooses, getting married and having children, unless the doctors "fix" her with potentially dangerous medication before she's even fucking born.  Intersex people are not "broken", they do not need to be "fixed", and that's the assumption this non-clinical trial is working off of.  Truly worthy of a Wednesday WTF.

But wait!  It gets worse!

A few researchers in particular believe that this drug could not only prevent "ambiguous" genitalia...it could prevent lesbians and tomboys.  It seems that higher prenatal exposure to the androgens this drug suppresses correlates moderately with homo- or bi-sexuality in women - and also with insufficiently-womanly behavior, such as "...lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role. As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.”  Oh noes!  How terrible!  Women who don't want to be housewives and girls who don't spend their childhoods fantasizing about having babies!  Get me to a fainting couch so I may clutch my pearls in safety!

But I think this is my favorite quote from this metric fuckton of FAIL:
“Gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized in 46,XX girls and women with 21OHD deficiency [CAH]. These abnormalities have been attributed to the effects of excessive prenatal androgen levels on the sexual differentiation of the brain and later on behavior...We anticipate that prenatal dexamethasone therapy will reduce the well-documented behavioral masculinization . . .”
You've got to be fucking kidding me.  So low maternalism and "career and leisure time preferences" that have "become masculinized" are abnormalities to be cured?  This is, quite literally, doctors saying that they want to *medically treat* female fetuses in utero to be "more appropriately feminine".  And where is the line drawn?  How do we define "low maternalism" here?  I'm sure a woman like me, who doesn't even like children and is vehemently opposed to ever having any, would be considered insufficiently maternal.  But what about a woman who hasn't thought much about it beyond the "Eh, maybe someday" point?  Is that maternal enough?  What about a woman who knows she wants kids, but not until she's 30?  What about a woman who assumes she'll have kids someday, but who never thought about it as a child?  Remember, they were worried about childhood fantasies of pregnancy and babies as a marker of appropriate gender behavior. 

Talk about playing God.  These fuckers are literally trying to change future women's personalities, desires, and bodies before they are even born, in order to better enforce our society's vision of "appropriate" gendered behavior.  This is absolutely sickening.  I desperately hope our sense of ethics catches up to our sense of technology SOON, for all our sakes.

3 Months of Nickels - What Price Misogyny?

Remember a couple of months ago, I blogged about Nickels For Change, the pair of college students who were committing to setting aside $.05 per incident of misogyny they experienced in their lives, while writing to those media sources and others who perpetuated it, to raise awareness of their campaign?

They've just posted an update on the Feministing Community blogs.  Between the two of them, in three months, they have raised...


At a nickel per incident, that's 1,511 incidents of "victim blaming, rape jokes, gender binary bias, and racial discrimination."  In just three months.  Let's break this down:

$75.55 in three months.  Thats...
1,511 incidents in three months.  Which means...
503 incidents per month.  And dividing by 30 gives us...
16.8 incidents per day.  So between them, they experienced...
an average of approximately 8 unique incidences of sexism/racism per person per day.

And I'll point out, that's the incidents *they noticed*.  Most of us are familiar with needing to turn our brains half-off just to get through the day without bursting into an incandescent ball of rage, so that only the more egregious (and everyone has their own "wtf threshold") moments make it past the filter to piss us off. 

So the next time someone pulls the "post-feminist" or "post-racial" bullshit, point them at the Nickels for Change project.  And ask them to imagine what it might feel like if they had to endure an average of 8 slurs against some deeply important aspect of their identity every day.  Post-feminist my ass.

What About Teh MENZZZ, Part Eleventybillion

I was linked, on Monday morning, to this PSA about conflict minerals and the situation in the Congo, sponsored by Raise Hope for Congo, an organization that focuses on the horrible rape epidemic in that region.  

 (It's a video in the style of the Mac vs PC commercials.  The Mac guy [young, white hipster-type dude] asks the PC guy [older white man in a business suit] what he's got in his pockets, and he pulls out some rocks, listing them off as tungsten and other minerals that have fueled the conflict in the Congo, and the Mac guy says "Oh, I use those too.  I guess we have more in common than we thought."  A title card at the end is the logo of the agency that made the PSA, Raise Hope for Congo, in which the "O" in "Hope" is replaced by the Venus symbol.)

It's a good PSA, I think.  A cute spoofing of the well-known Mac vs PC commercials, easily understood, etc.  And oh, I should really know better than to read the comments on ANY YouTube video...but there you go.  When I clicked over the first time, the top-rated (and thus promoted to the top of the comments thread) comment was:
I think it would be more universally appealing if your logo didn't make it seem like it only helps women.
Ahem.  To quote from RHfC's website:
The RAISE Hope for Congo campaign aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists who will advocate for the protection and empowerment of Congolese women and girls.
So, some fuckwit on YouTube couldn't be arsed to take TWO FUCKING SECONDS to go to RHfC's website and see that, in fact, it *is* an organization focused on supporting and helping women, before he got his pants in a bunch about "Why are you so focused on women, what about teh menz, huh?"  Because 
helping women is totally not universally appealing, amirite?  Who wants to help women, ew?

Listen, random douchbro: that sting of being left-out you are feeling right now?  That twinge of unwantedness that is making you all pouty, because you are not obviously the Person This Is Meant For?  That is a feeling that positively fucking HAUNTS women.  And also PoC, and queer people, and trans people, and disabled people, etc. etc.  So before you lose your shit over one goddamn PSA, kindly remember that you get 90% of the rest of society's messages that explicity make you feel wanted and targeted and paid attention to, and back the fuck up off of insisting that you get all 100% of it, ok?


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