Last Month in Feminist News: September
From a mandatory minimum sentence bill inspired by the Turner case to Trump’s favorite insults.
What a month! September saw some demoralizing losses, but also feminists speaking out and banding together to demand better. Here’s what you need to know about the last month of feminist news:
1. Feminist stand up to mandatory minimums
Feminist groups joined together to oppose a California bill inspired by Brock Turner’s short sentence. But on September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed the law, which mandates inflexible minimum sentences for the kind of crime Turner committed. Feminist critics argue that the bill will exacerbate racial disparities in incarceration while failing to help survivors.
2. Chelsea Manning may be punished for suicide attempt
In September, the Department of Defense finally told Chelsea Manning—imprisoned for providing documents to Wikileaks—that she can pursue gender confirmation surgery. The same week, an administrative board brought new charges against her in retaliation for her recent suicide attempt, triggering feminist outcry. Possible punishments include indefinite solitary confinement.
3. Federal court makes a mistake on dreadlocks
A federal appellate court ruled that an employer could legally refuse to hire a Black woman because of her dreadlocks. The three-judge panel dismissed the case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to the outrage of many advocates. A spokeswoman for the EEOC says the federal agency is “reviewing [its] options.” Maybe RBG has something to say on the topic…
4. North Carolina GOP attacks trans rights
Transphobes continue to use faux feminism to justify attacks on trans students. In North Carolina, the state’s Republican party responded to NCAA criticism of its anti-trans law by bizarrely urging the athletic league to care about campus rape instead—as though the two concerns were mutually exclusive.
5. Clinton campaign highlights Trump’s misogyny
With election day rapidly approaching, Secretary Clinton has focused voters’ attention on Donald Trump’s history of misogyny. At the first debate, she noted the insults he likes to throw at women, calling them “pigs” and “slobs” and criticizing their bodies publicly. His response? They “deserve” the insults.