Ryan Gosling, Feminist?

Alright, we like Ryan Gosling as a fabulous actor. But Danielle Henderson put this whole thing on another level. For the release of Henderson’s book „Feminist Ryan Gosling: Feminist Theory as Imagined from Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude“ we wanted to share her story. For more Ryan Gosling visit her Tumblr feministryangosling.tumblr.com And yes…we’re nerds.

Most students can recall at least one point in their academic careers when they found themselves secluded in a corner of the library, coffee in hand, cramming for a big test.

University of Wisconsin graduate student Danielle Henderson was in a similar situation, struggling to remember and differentiate among numerous feminist theories. So she came up with a plan to help herself out. It all began at lunch one day when Henderson and her friends were talking about Ryan Gosling in the movie Drive.

Henderson was inspired to combine her academic struggles and her feminist lifestyle in a fun way to make difficult feminist subjects and mounting exams easier to tackle. She created a Tumblr account called “Feminist Ryan Gosling” based on “Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling“, and what she thought would remain a fun study technique among friends quickly turned into an overnight sensation. Since its creation in October 2011, the Tumblr has garnered more than 3,000,000 views a month. With her wild success rate, Henderson decided to publish a book.

Feminist Ryan Gosling: Feminist Theory as Imagined from Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude includes 100+ feminist-themed quips that supposedly come out of Gosling’s mouth. After studying about 35 books during her winter break, she had collected enough feminist theory to write the book. Says Henderson,

They are all legitimately flashcards for me. It still feels really selfish because everything is based on assigned homework and my thesis. … But that doesn’t mean it’s all right. I put my opinion into what I read.

Henderson admits that she is still surprised by the success of the site. She explained that if she had known it would get so popular, she probably wouldn’t have chosen to feature someone as famous as Ryan Gosling:

Imagining Ryan Gosling talking about feminist theory is a creative way to engage and inform about sometimes hard-to-grasp topics. While it is not clear if real-life Gosling is a feminist, Henderson skilfully pairs feminist comments and Gosling’s expression in complementary settings to make each “Hey girl…” seem surprisingly realistic. Although Gosling has not commented on the Tumblr or upcoming book, he was quoted in 2010 discussing Blue Valentine’s NC-17 rating. The problems he addressed definitely support the imaginary feminist Ryan Gosling:

You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is OK supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.

While many continue hoping that Gosling will officially call himself a feminist, for now, we can continue to be entertained by Henderson’s book. Its goal is to allow feminism to be fun and personal, says Henderson:

I’ve spent so much time as feminist feeling really alone and isolated. It’s cool that people are interested in talking about feminist in a different way. We can address difficult things in a more lighthearted way, while still being part of struggle and sisterhood.


Pussy Riot Flee Russia

Two activists of the Pussy Riot punk-rock group who are being sought by Russian police have fled the country, the band’s Twitter account says.

Three members of the group were jailed this month for staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.
The pair who fled have not been named but the husband of one of the jailed women said the duo had taken part in the cathedral protest in February.

Many in the West condemned the Pussy Riot sentences as disproportionate.

However, the Kremlin has rejected accusations by musicians and some governments that the case was politically motivated.

Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of „hooliganism motivated by religious hatred“ and jailed for two years.
‚Big collective‘

The Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said: „In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!“

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told Reuters news agency: „Since the Moscow police said they are searching for them, they will keep a low profile for now. They are in a safe place beyond the reach of the Russian police.“
Yekaterina Samutsevich (L), Maria Alyokhina (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) in court in Moscow (17 Aug 2012) The jailed trio are serving two-year sentences

He suggested that this meant a country that had no extradition arrangement with Russia.

Mr Verzilov told Reuters: „Twelve or even 14 members who are still in Russia actively participate in the band’s work now, it’s a big collective.“

The jailed women are appealing against their sentences.

Following the verdict, Russian police said they were actively searching for other members of the group who had taken part in the cathedral protest.

But they gave no names and did not say how many were being sought.

The jailed women said their performance of a „punk prayer“ on 21 February in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral had been to highlight the Russian Orthodox Church leader’s support for Mr Putin.

Their brief, obscenity-laced performance, which implored the Virgin Mary to „throw Putin out“, enraged the Orthodox Church.

via BBC

Putin Fuck Off: 2 Years Jail For Pussy Riot

A judge sentenced three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years jail on Friday for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a church, an act the judge called “blasphemous”.

Supporters of the women say their case has put Mr. Putin’s tolerance of dissent on trial. Several opposition figures were detained outside the courtroom while protesting in support of the women.

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Members of female punk band Pussy Riot sit behind bars before a court hearing in Moscow

A masked demonstrator attends a demonstration in support of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, whose members face prison for a stunt against President Vladimir Putin, outside Russia’s embassy in Berlin, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. The three female band members have been in jail for more than five months because of an anti-Putin prank in Moscow’s main cathedral. A judge is due to rule on their case Friday.

The women have support abroad, where their case has been taken up by a long list of celebrities including Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting, but polls show few Russians sympathise with them.

Judge Marina Syrova found the women guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, describing them as blasphemers who had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in February to belt out a song deriding Mr. Putin.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, stood watching in handcuffs in a glass courtroom cage.

The women say they were protesting against Mr. Putin’s close ties with the church when they burst onto the altar in Moscow’s golden domed Christ the Saviour Cathedral wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts. State prosecutors had requested a three-year jail term.

“Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alyokhina committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society,” the judge said.

“The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules.”

Though few Russians have much sympathy for the women, Mr. Putin’s opponents portray the trial as part of a wider crackdown by the former KGB spy to crush their protest movement.

Foreign stars have campaigned for the trio’s release, and Washington says the case is politically motivated. Madonna performed in Moscow with “PUSSY RIOT” painted on her back.

“As in most politically motivated cases, this court is not in line with the law, common sense or mercy,” veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva said.

But Valentina Ivanova, 60, a retired doctor, said outside the courtroom before the verdict was delivered: “What they did showed disrespect towards everything, and towards believers first of all.”

“Let them get three years in jail; they need to wise up.”

The trial has divided Russia’s mainly Orthodox Christian society, with many backing the authorities’ demands for severe punishment, but others saying the women deserved clemency.

Mr. Putin, who returned to the presidency for a third term in May after a four-year spell as prime minister, has said the women did “nothing good” but should not be judged too harshly.

Witnesses saw at least 24 people detained by police in scuffles or for unfurling banners or donning balaclavas in support of Pussy Riot outside the courtroom. Among those detained were Sergei Udaltsov, a leftist opposition leader, and Garry Kasparov, the chess great and vehement Putin critic.

“Shame on (Russian Orthodox Patriarch) Kirill, shame on Putin,” Mr. Udaltsov said before he was detained.

“A disgraceful political reprisal is underway on the part of the authorities. … If we swallow this injustice they can come for any one of us tomorrow.”

The crowd of about 2,000 people outside the court was dominated by Pussy Riot supporters but also included some nationalists and religious believers demanding a tough sentence.

“Evil must be punished,” said Maria Butilno, 60, who held an icon and said Pussy Riot had insulted the faithful.

An opinion poll of Russians released by the independent Levada research group on Friday showed only 6 per cent had sympathy with the women, 51 per cent said they found nothing good about them or felt irritation or hostility, and the rest were unable to say or were indifferent.

“The girls went too far, but they should be fined and released,” said Alexei, a 30-year-old engineer on a Moscow street near the court. He declined to give his family name.

Ms. Tolokonnikova, Ms. Alyokhina and Ms. Samutsevich are educated, middle-class Russians who say their protest was intended to highlight close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and Mr. Putin, not to offend believers.

The charges against Pussy Riot raised concern abroad about freedom of speech in Russia two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Protests in support of the group were planned on Friday in cities from Sydney to Paris, and New York to London. A crowd of several hundred gathered in a New York hotel late on Thursday to hear actress Chloe Sevigny and others read from letters, lyrics and court statements by the detained women.

In Kiev, a bare-chested feminist activist took a chainsaw to a wooden cross bearing a the figure of Christ in the centre of the city. In Bulgaria, sympathisers put Pussy Riot-style masks on statues at a Soviet Army monument.

Protest leaders say Mr. Putin will not relax pressure on opponents in his new six-year term. In moves seen by the opposition as a crackdown, parliament has rushed through laws increasing fines for protesters, tightening controls on the Internet, which is used to arrange protests, and imposing stricter rules on defamation.
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WADI asks: Why are you silent about ‘Honor’ Killings …?

This petition is a call for society to immediately protect from violence all women and girls in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG). The silence about ‘honor’ killings in the KRG is deafening, and one more example of this is the case of 15-year-old Nigar Rahim, who was raped by one brother in 2011 and later killed by another brother on July 20, 2012.

Nigar lived in Kalar City in the Garmayan district of Iraq and was under the protection of the Directorate to Investigate Violence after giving birth to a child as a result of the rape. After her family negotiated with police, Nigar was returned to her family on June 12, 2012. She was brutally murdered less than five weeks later by one of her brothers.

Her rape and murder is shameful and influences every human being. Nigar’s case, among the many ‘honor’ killings reported in the KRG, demonstrates the urgent need for government, and women and civil society organizations, and every citizen to take immediate action to stop the violence against women and girls, including ‘honor’ killings.

Killing women and girls in the name of ‘honor’, as well as all other acts of violence in the name of culture, religion, and tradition is shameful. We believe it shows a bad side of human behavior that is extreme and animal-like.

We particularly call upon government departments, who are especially silent when such cases are reported, to respond more quickly and within their responsibility as outlined in Law No. 8: the Law Against Domestic Violence in Kurdistan, which became law in August 2011.

All too often, when these crimes happen, the response is too late by the government departments responsible for protecting women and girls and investigating violent acts against them. We believe the following contribute to the problem:

Neglecting Law No. 8: the Law Against Domestic Violence in Kurdistan
Lacking a real plan in the KRG to stop violence against women
Lacking true place of shelter for women in harm’s way
Working in a highly bureaucratic environment that lacks the tools and methods to properly investigate and prosecute these crimes
Freeing those charged with such crimes too quickly after being arrested, without proper investigation
Neglecting in court cases of violence against women

When the government cannot protect the security and safety of its citizens, society as a whole suffers. We urge the government and its ministries and directorates responsible for protecting women and girls to take seriously Law No. 8, and to become more aware of the true, real, serious threats of violence against woman and girls.

As a group of women’s and civil society organizations, we arrange this protest to call for an original and serious investigation into Nigar’s case by the Ministry of Interior and Department of Domestic Violence. We call upon these departments to provide a full report about how and why the case of Nigar happened. Until now, the explanations have not been acceptable.

Killing women in the name of ‘honor’ is truly a crime against women and girls in Kurdistan and results in a shameful reputation for every Kurdish citizen worldwide.

Those who choose to be silent when an honor killing happens – any mother, father, sister, brother, neighbor, friend, or other relative – are indirectly participating, supporting, and allowing this violence against women and girls to continue. Now is the time for every person in the KRG to realize that, human beings do not give the right to life and human beings do not have the right take another person’s life.

We hope that those who commit violence against women and girls are held responsible and punished under the rule of law. It is a shame for every citizen in Kurdistan that this violence, including honor killings, continues today.

Life Group

August 6, 2012

WADI: Ranya and Qaladiza, Iraq – A True Hell for Women and Girls

In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq (KRG), Ranya and the nearby town of Qaladiza are quickly becoming one of the most dangerous places for women in the Middle East. This year, a surge in violence against women is cause for great concern, with 18 cases reported in the Bishder and Betwen regions in January and February 2012.

According to data provided by Ranya General Hospital and the KRG Directorate of Violence Against Women, five cases of murder, eight cases of self-immolation, and five cases of physical (domestic) violence have been reported in the first two months of 2012.

By contrast, in the same region a total of 44 cases of violence against women were reported in all of 2011, with the KRG Directorate of Violence Against Women officially reporting three murders, 12 acts of physical (domestic) violence, and 29 self-immolation cases. The total number of women that died in 2011 as a result of the violence is unknown because government data is not available.

If action is not taken immediately, violence against women in this region is due to triple in 2012. The KRG must declare a state of emergency in Ranya and Qaladiza, and police and security forces must formally investigate all cases of violence against women. The judicial system must prosecute offenders, pursuant to KRG Law No. 8, the Law Against Domestic Violence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The law was passed in June 2011 but has yet to be fully implemented.

Finally, the KRG Ministry of Human Rights, leagues of women, and other community and international organizations must join forces to increase awareness of the issue and implement a serious plan to stop the violence against women in Ranya and Qaladiza.

Lack of Planning or Action Puts Women at Risk

While some action has been taken to address the violence against women in Ranya and Qaladiza, activities to date have been more window dressing than actual plans of action. Leagues of women, KRG ministries of Human Rights and Social Affairs, and large organizations hold meetings and discuss plans to end the violence against women but do not contribute enough to stopping it all together.

Despite their best intentions, these groups are not taking serious action to protect women. None of these groups have opened a shelter in the region to offer women a safe haven from the violence. The government does not declare a state of emergency in Ranya and Qaladiza, despite the fact that violence against women is due to triple in 2012. Little has been done to seriously expand campaigns to increase awareness and motivate the entire community to work toward stopping the violence.

Moreover, police and security forces have not been activated to stop the killings, law enforcement does not properly investigate criminal cases that are reported, and the judicial system does not prosecute offenders.

As a result of these inadequate measures, violence against women in this region is increasing at an alarming rate. Murder, self-immolation, and forced marriages are common in Ranya and Qaladiza.

Thousands of infant girls, still in their cradles, have been engaged or exchanged with other girls for members of one another’s families. Data from the KRG Ministry of Human Rights documents 3,736 such cases.

The FGM rate in the Ranya region is 94 percent, according to a report by Wadi that was forwarded to the KRG Parliament in 2008. The report found that of 2,317 girls evaluated, 2,184 had been circumcised.

Women in this region are the targets of physical, psychological, and social violence that grossly violates their human rights.

Murder, Attempted Murder Cases

Five cases of murder or attempted murder of women have been reported in the first two months of 2012. Four women have died and one woman remains in hospital intensive care, having undergone two operations as a result of her injuries.

Of the five cases, this report provides background on only two of the victims. There was not enough information on the three remaining victims to report the facts of their cases.

• Victim #1
Sakar Hamadamin, 28 of Sarkapkan sub-district of Ranya, was killed on February 4, 2012. Her family claims that the killer is unknown.

• Victim #2
Kaban Kamal Omer, 23, of Zharawa, was shot by her husband, Nasih Hussein, on February 9, 2012. Nasih claimed that he was cleaning his weapon when it went off, shooting his wife. At the time of preparing this report, Kaban was in hospital intensive care and remained in serious condition. She has had several operations as a result of her injuries.

• Victim #3
Sakar Omer Aziz, 22, of Ranya district was killed by her husband on February 11, 2012.

Murdered Women of Ranya

In February, Wadi team members from Sulaimani and Ranya set out to meet with families of three victims killed since January 2012. The team also went to meet with the family of one of the men accused of murdering his wife. They visited four homes in one day, but only two of the four families would speak openly and on the record about the cases. These stories are included below.

Sakar Hamadamin’s Story
In February, the Wadi team visited the home of murder victim Sakar Hamadamin, 28, a schoolteacher from the Sarkapan sub-district of Ranya. Wadi investigators were following up on a rumor that her father killed her. Zuleikha, Sakar’s mother, gave an account of the murder to the organization’s team members when they visited her home.

“It was 10 at night. Sakar was busy with her camera, as it had snowed that day. She had intended to take some photos on her way to her work in Plingan village the next day and at school.” Zuleikha said. “I fell asleep after 10 p.m.; Sakar, too. We shared a room. At midnight, I jumped by the bang of firing from a rifle. Though there was no electricity, I could see a man I did not recognize, with his back toward me walking away. I dared not chase him.”

Sakar had a boyfriend that had asked for her hand in marriage several times, but Sakar’s father was reluctant to agree to the union. Soon after he agreed to their marriage, Sakar was shot.

Close family relatives referred to a telephone call that Sakar’s father received as the cause of her killing. He allegedly received a telephone call from a man in the same tribe stating, “’Hey Hamadamin, you are the only man in the tribe who is controlled by his daughter. Have you forgotten the traditions of our family? How could you listen to your daughter and agree to her marriage to that boy?’”

“After this phone call, Sakar’s father had decided to kill his daughter,” the relative said. “And that same night he did.”

According to a family relative, “on the night when Sakar was shot, she had been able before passing away to tell her mother “Ma, it was dad but for God’s sake do not confront him with anything.’’

The family relative also said that Sakar’s father allegedly telephoned one of his relatives after Sakar had been injured and asked how his wife Zuleikha and his daughter were. He reportedly said, “please, how is Zuleikha, not tired?,” adding, “I have pledged to sacrifice three bulls may God keep Sakar safe and [that she will] recover.”

Information gathered for this report stated that Sakar’s father shot her on the night of February 4, 2012. She died two days after the shooting in the hospital. Sakar’s mother and sister-in-law said that the person who murdered Sakar must have been experienced and aware of Sakar’s sleeping place. The person who killed Sakar entered the house at midnight, turned off the power, and shot her while she slept, they said.

Sakar Omer’s Story

Wadi team members also visited the parents and sister of one of the murder victims, Sakar Omer Aziz, 22, in their family home in Ranya. Sakar’s younger sister, Sawen Omer Aziz, 17, recounted the story of finding her sister dead.

Sawan said she was the first witness to enter her sister’s house. “I was at my grandmother’s [house] that day,” she said. “I was back at around 5 p.m. I told my mother that I would visit my sister Sakar. I knocked at the gate three to four times but nobody opened. I phoned my sister a couple of times but there was no answer.”

Sawen added, “I looked through the gate. A window was open. I knew they were home but I thought she was having a nap.”

Sawen entered the house through the neighbor’s gate. She said, “Entering the hall, I couldn’t recognize my brother-in-law. The house was like a slaughter house.”

Sawen explained that Sakar had two gun shot wounds and that her husband had shot himself in the neck. The bullet penetrated his head and blew his right eye out.

Sakar was only 22. She had attended primary school through class four. She was a housewife. Her husband, Pishder, was a peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) based in Ranya. The couple had a five-month old baby boy.

Sawen added, “I telephoned my father. I was so frightened and was talking so quickly that my father could not understand me. My brother-in-law was still alive and was able to talk. He was telling me to keep silent and not to inform anyone.”

Sawen indicated that nobody was aware of what had taken place until her father arrived and they removed Sakar’s body from the house. She returned to the house to help the husband, Pishder, and to attend to the couple’s baby boy. Sawen said, “The child was in the cradle, which was covered with blood. I was afraid that the child was also shot.” When she saw that the child was unharmed, she lifted him from the cradle. She then telephoned the security police, known as Asayish.

According to Sakar’s father, Omer Aziz, his daughter did not have problems until she was married. He claimed that the couple’s marital problems stemmed from her husband’s addiction to alcohol. Omer said Sakar’s husband, “beat Sakar and hit her with a knife two months ago. Whenever he had beaten Sakar, he cut his own wrist with a cutter. He was always drunk and unconscious.”

The Wadi team visited Pishder’s family to confirm facts of the case, but they were not willing to speak about the issue.

Self-Immolation Cases

Each of the self-immolation victims suffered severe burns of high degrees, making the collection of evidence directly from the victims impossible. Relatives of four of the six victims have claimed that these women caught fire and burned while filling heaters with kerosene. At the time of finalizing this report, there was not enough information available on two of the cases to report on the cause of their burns.

• Gashbeen Jabar Nabi, 13, Rapareen Quarter, Ranya, was burned on January 15, 2012. Gashbeen’s family claimed that she was burned when filling a heater with kerosene; however, the cause of the burning remains suspicious.
• Sazan Omer Kareem, 27, Hajiawa sub-district, was burned on January 15, 2012. Details of the case are unknown.
• Beri Mohammad Mullah, 19, from Sangasar sub-district, was burned on January 26, 2012. Details of the case are unknown.
• Shiba Hussein Qadir, 19, Ranya district, Shahidan Quarter, was burned on January 31, 2012. Details of the case are unknown.
• Arazo Salih Rasool, 17, suffered burns on 50 percent of her body, allegedly from a kerosene pump cooker while taking a bath. Arazo is now at Sulaimaniyah hospital.
• Gulstan Ahmad, 17, a student at a computer institute, was burned while home alone. She allegedly filled a kerosene heater with benzene instead of kerosene.


Immediate action is required to stop the violence against women in Ranya and Qaladiza. The human rights of women and girls are being violated on a daily basis with long-lasting consequences on the physical, psychological, and social health of women, children, and the greater community in this region.

Given the surge in violence against women since January 2012, Wadi calls on the KRG to declare a state of emergency in Ranya and Qaladiza.

Wadi also calls for all government establishments and organizations, from police and security forces to the KRG Ministry of Human Rights and others to be on high alert. These cases of murders and suicides must be confronted with a serious plan that prevents violence against women and prosecutes offenders, in accordance with the KRG Law No. 8, the Law Against Domestic Violence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Finally, awareness campaigns must be increased and should combine a broad range of strategies to reach the community on all levels, from door-to-door educational visits to large demonstrations that call for an end to the violence and crimes against women and girls.