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This article was published on September 2, 2019

Byte Me #7: TNW’s Lady Bits has a new name!

Byte Me #7: TNW’s Lady Bits has a new name!

Welcome back to… Byte Me!

Confused? Due to some copyright issues, we had to rename. But we love OUR new name, and nothing else has changed — this is still our feminist newsletter that makes everyone mad <3

Each month, our gloriously talented designer, Saïna, illustrates a shitty comment or tweet we receive from one of TNW’s misogynistic readers. Here’s this month’s:

LOL ADRIAN YOU’RE HILARIOUS. Here’s a thank you for your insight:

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The bloody news

  • From The Atlantic: “To learn about the far right, start with the ‘Manosphere,'” or how mass shootings, the internet, and misogyny intersect.
  • Vogue interviewed the inimitable Stacey Abrams — could she save American democracy? Let’s fucking hope so. 
  • From The Guardian: Ex-porn star Mia Khalifa wants to move on with her life. Why won’t we let her? Dunno, but it’s probably something to do with how shit men are.
  • Geena Davis talked to Vogue about her new Oscar, Glow, and how she’s been changing Hollywood behind the scenes. 
  • Google tweaked its algorithm to show less porn when searching for ‘lesbian’ content, which is GREAT…
  • ...but anti-abortion groups already found a way around its new ad policy.
  • Some food for thought from Longreads: “Hot Girl Summer has women subverting a feminine archetype, but only if they can embody it first.”
  • According to a law professor, powerful women know how to flip feminine stereotypes to their advantage. Read it in The New York Times.
  • Here’s how r/GirlGamers memes help women and non-binary gamers deal with harassment
  • For everyone who also thinks aquatic animals are sexy: this sting ray-shaped vibrator is the non-gendered future of sex toys
  • Minda Honey wrote about how politics are an inevitable part of dating — and being single — as a black woman for Longreads.
  • Serena William’s husband, Alexis Ohanian, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times: “Paternity leave was crucial after the birth of my child, and every father deserves it.” 
  • A maternal icon:

  • Samsung allegedly removed a women’s sexual health stall from a women in tech event. Now they’ve (kinda) apologized for it.
  • Missy Elliott finally won her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMAs. Her performance proved why it’s long overdue. Read more in Teen Vogue
  • The second best thing to come out of Sweden after IKEA: ‘The Equal Edit’ campaign is improving gender equality in Swedish history on Wikipedia.
  • Super ‘woke’ Lyft was hit with 7 sexual assault lawsuits in one day. They deserve a super woke medal for hitting such a record.
  • Quartz wrote about the brief history of Nicole Kidman’s iconic wigs. 
    But someone really needs to write about her iconically terrifying long hands.
  •  In war-torn Yemen, mothers who bring a sickly baby to the hospital are often unable to breastfeed. NPR wrote about how war is the enemy of breastfeeding. 
  • We love a limey tampon.

  •  Women in gaming open up on Twitter about sexual assault in the industry.
  • Dr. Jen Gunter, the author of The Vagina Bible — and who should really be called Vagina Jesus, or Vajesus — is debunking junk science about the female body. She was recently interviewed by The Atlantic: ‘For so long, women have been marginalized by medicine.’
  • This Twitter account reminds you to drink water. 

    It’s not just for women, but we need to be well-hydrated for the revolution.

  •  Environmental activist Greta Thunberg finally landed in New York! She’s been traveling emission-free across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Follow her on Twitter!

  • Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein are hosting an AMA with us — ask them anything about data feminism here.

  • Bangladesh’s top court ruled women are no longer required to declare if they are virgins on marriage registration forms, reported the BBC.

that’s what she said: do feminists need to call themselves feminists?

Because we’re all magical and unique snowflakes who don’t always agree on feminist issues — and subsequently feel like we’re “bad” women — we’re going to discuss something we found online in each newsletter.

For this month’s that’s what she said, we’re discussing whether or not feminists need to call themselves “feminists.” We’ve linked to our full discussion here, and included the TL;DR below…

Georgina: Feminism has become increasingly more mainstream, which is awesome. But there are still a lot of people who reject the word — often based on misunderstanding its definition. So, do feminists need to call themselves “feminists”?

Cara: Something I’ve heard a lot is people saying they believe in gender equality, but they don’t identify as feminist.

Georgina: …or saying they’re “humanists” lol. Hate that word. “I’m not a feminist but I support gender equality.”

Anouk: But some people who aggressively brand themselves as feminists, or anything really, tend to be pretty annoying — so I do get the question. But claiming you’re not a feminist still is worse, because that suggests (to me) that you don’t believe in gender equality.

Georgina: And just because you call yourself a feminist doesn’t mean it’s translating to action… what good is a person who calls themselves a feminist but doesn’t act like one? Or doesn’t understand what it means to be a feminist and likes the word because Beyoncé said it?

And what about the question of the reverse — does someone who acts like a feminist need to call themselves one to be one? I’d rather have a friend who acts like a feminist than one who calls themselves one but doesn’t act like one, know what I mean?

Anouk: Yeah, so it has lost its meaning, maybe. It’s kind of a trendy word.

Cara: Labeling yourself as feminist does come with some responsibility: ”BUT HOW R U FEMINIST THO??”

Georgina: But, let’s say you had a partner who wouldn’t call himself a feminist – what would you do?

Anouk: …and what about male feminists?

You can check out our full discussion here.

Feel free to comment on the document with your thoughts, or send us an email!

the best and the worst

In this section, we ask women much smarter than us about the best and worst piece of professional advice they’ve ever received. This month’s is from Jenny Odell, an artist and writer who teaches at Stanford University. She just published her first book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.

The worst? 
“I had a very talented freshman student in my art class who told me that an older artist had advised her to 1) get an Instagram account, 2) post regularly, and 3) develop a very easily identifiable style/personal brand. That could be good advice at a certain stage, but the idea of foreclosing all of the space for experimentation and development when you’re just starting out was honestly heartbreaking to me.”

Heads (and tits) up! On Monday, September 9, mortician, activist, and YouTuber Caitlin Doughty is hosting an AMA with us. Send in all your questions about death now!

tweets of the month

word of the month: femcel

Next up in our new and improved Dicktionary (sorry):

Here’s a little observation: you can take literally any word and make it about women by putting “fem” in front of it. Femsplaining… femvertising… femspreading (we’re not sure if that’s a thing — but it should be).

Recently we came across the word “femcel.” Incels (derived from “involuntary celibacy”), for those of you not aware, are men who can’t get laid and have decided to make that the thing that defines them. 

So they get together online and bitch about the ones “responsible” for their incelibacy: women. Most of the time, they’re a pathetic bunch whining about being friend-zoned. But, more frighteningly, the community is associated with some far-right ultra-violent mass shootings.

So, circling back to femcel. We wondered if there is really an equivalent group for women who feel the same way, and it exists. One woman wrote about her experience as a femcel in The Guardian this year.

Not surprisingly, the woman “confessing” here isn’t in her late teens, or early twenties, like most male incels, but is a 40-something mother of two who’d been stuck in a bad marriage, and understandably had post-traumatic stress because of it. Oh, and her “incelibacy” didn’t force her to shoot a bunch of people. So not really an equivalent.

Podcast Reply All made an excellent episode explaining the origins of the incel movement, which was actually started by — you guessed it — a woman. As a shy, queer woman who’d struggled with dating for years, she wanted to create a support group for people with similar experiences, she explains in the episode. It turned out to become one of the most toxic male communities in the world.

Women start a community out of solidarity and a need for support, and men make it shit. Surprise, surprise.

Kidding. (We’re not.)

Here’s how to use in a sentence: “Don’t worry, we are all femcels here,” she mused while joyfully Marie Kondo’ing her dildo collection.

What do you think of Byte Me? Love it? Tell us. Hate it? Tell us — as female journalists we love hate mail.

Don’t forget…

<3 The TNW shrews

Cara ([email protected])
Anouk ([email protected])
& Georgina ([email protected])

If you’re a company that supports gender equality and wants to work with us, reply to this email <3

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