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Why Feminism Does Not Need a Re-Brand


Women's Agenda - Australia
By Jane Caro / Oct 15, 2013
First, and most simply, you can't re-brand something that is not a brand. I have worked with brands all my life, so I am very clear about the difference between a brand – something created to be sold in a market – and a philosophy or movement – something created to change the world.
Feminism is no more a brand than Catholicism or Islam or liberalism or atheism. All of them are ways of viewing the world. They can – and indeed do – change and evolve over time but via a natural evolution that occurs organically, driven by those who passionately believe, not by the phony, please-everyone, marketing-think that goes into re-branding. Most conventional re-branding exercises, by the way, are not effective. The best and most long-lasting brands are classic brands – Coke, for example. Coke has lots of negative connotations – rots your teeth, makes you fat, only drunk by losers and the children of lousy parents – yet it (usually) loftily ignores all that and goes on being its unhealthy self and selling a motza. The few times it lost its nerve and attempted to re-brand itself – new Coke, cherry Coke, and the appalling Kerry Armstrong Coke-isn't-really-bad-for-kids ad campaign – it came a terrible cropper.
Re-branding is an admission of defeat. It accepts the opinion of the critics, of those who do not like or support the original. It tries to win over those who will never be won over and in doing so, not just loses the people who always supported and believed in it, but actively slaps them in the face. That's why actual brands that try to re-brand often fail and also why political movements and philosophies do too. Don't believe me? Just look at the ALP. It's been trying to re-brand itself as a party of the centre for decades and has compromised itself almost out of existence to attract swinging voters (by definition non-loyal users). In so doing it has fundamentally ignored its core supporters, many of whom have quietly walked out the back door and joined the Greens. According to new leader Bill Shorten, only 34 out of 100 voters put the ALP first in the last Federal election.
Successful brands are not perfect and do not please everyone, but they have some sort of integrity. Movements and philosophies that aim to change the world must have unassailable integrity – particularly in the face of harsh criticism and hard times. When the going gets tough, the last thing feminism should do is buckle under the pressure and deny its history and its achievements. Then the enemies of feminism really have won. As the great feminist Dale Spender famously put it;
"Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions.. for safety on the streets... for child care, for social welfare... for rape crisis centers, women's refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says 'Oh, I'm not a feminist,' I ask 'Why? What's your problem?'"
To re-brand feminism is to attempt to placate and soothe those that feminism has disturbed and threatened. I understand that for many women – brought up (as we all are) to please, placate and be liked – stubbornly identifying as a feminist takes courage and confidence. For many anything beyond silent agreement is almost impossible. Yet the hard truth is that the more invective is hurled at feminism the more effective it has become because abuse intensifies in proportion to threat. No-one ever gives up power voluntarily, it must be fought for and fighting is hard and quintessentially not-nice. To walk away from the proud 300 year history of feminism via some kind of re-brand (what would we call it - Equalism? Anti-sexism? Women's rights? It was Women's Lib for a while) would be a profound betrayal of all the women who have ever stood up to the abuse and claimed the name.
And don't talk to me about young women not being attracted by feminism. They never have been – unless lucky enough to have a feminist mother. Young women believe that things will be different for them. I get that; it is part of being young and optimistic to believe that any difficulties are exaggerated by the generation before you. And pretty young women have a sexual power they think will last forever. What radicalizes women is what always has; ageing, marriage and motherhood. That's when the doors slam shut and when many women suddenly realize just how profoundly they need feminism.
Feminism aims to change the world. To do so it cannot play nice and strive for love and approval. It must, as it has always done, remain true to itself in the face of scorn, ridicule and abuse -- even from those whose lives it has immeasurably improved. It must be brave, stubborn and pugnacious. It must continue to speak difficult, uncomfortable truth to power. It must continue to disrupt, disturb and threaten. That's its job.

Where does your state rank in the poverty indicators?


Renewing the Poverty Debate: State of the States 2013. It can be found here http://halfinten.org/blog/news/resetting-the-poverty-debate-state-of-the-states-2013/ where you can also go to our new Half in Ten Education Fund's interactive site to see the data for every state. http://halfinteneducation.org/poverty-indicators

Bill Moyers recently gave a speech at the Brennan Institute.  If you go to his website, you can read an edited version of that speech, titled The Great American Class War:  Plutocracy Versus Democracy.

This is especially clear if we try to understand why Washington, in the midst of a continuing jobs crisis, somehow became obsessed with the supposed need for cuts in Social Security and Medicare. This obsession never made economic sense: In a depressed economy with record low interest rates, the government should be spending more, not less, and an era of mass unemployment is no time to be focusing on potential fiscal problems decades in the future. Nor did the attack on these programs reflect public demands. Surveys of the very wealthy have, however, shown that they — unlike the general public — consider budget deficits a crucial issue and favor big cuts in safety-net programs. And sure enough, those elite priorities took over our policy discourse.

NOW's long list of accomplishments in 2013


NOW News and Action Summary

News & Action Summary: Special End of Year Edition

Note: Over the last few days, technical issues at our online donation service prevented the donation page from loading properly. We apologize for the inconvenience, and have been assured that the problem is now fixed. Please let us know if you have any difficulty making your end-of-year contribution. As always, we appreciate your support!

Message from Bonnie Grabenhofer

What a year it has been! 2013 has given us much to celebrate - especially the work of NOW activists around the country standing up for women's freedom and empowerment.
After a long, drawn-out fight, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reauthorized and expanded to protect previously under-served populations: women in the LGBT community, Native American women, women on college campuses and immigrant women.
Some of our biggest wins this year came in the battle for marriage equality, bringing the total to 16 states and the District of Columbia which have legalized marriage for same-sex couples. The United States Supreme Court overturned California's ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8) and struck down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), ensuring same-sex married couples equitable access to the federal safety net.
With Janet Yellen's nomination to chair the Federal Reserve, another crack has been made in the glass ceiling. Dr. Yellen's nomination is good news for women, working families and everyone who cares about job creation in this country. We are going to do all we can to ensure that she will be confirmed.
For equality,

Bonnie Grabenhofer, Action Vice President

Message from Chitra Panjabi

NOW's grassroots activists worked tirelessly this year to beat back some of the worst attacks on reproductive rights.
State restrictions on abortion access continue to erupt all over the country, but we were able to successfully counter the first municipal ballot measure to ban abortion at 20 weeks in Albuquerque, NM. Over the summer, NOW launched the "We're Not Fooled" campaign; it has been a highly successful tool that highlights and holds accountable the right wing extremists who want to turn back the clock on our hard-won gains.
Last May, the Federal Drug Administration approved sales of emergency contraception over the counter without age restrictions. NOW and its allies have long called upon the agency to take politics out of this decision and ensure that this safe and effective product is available to all who need it -- and we finally succeeded!
Legislation for fair, comprehensive immigration reform has yet to materialize, but working in coalition with our partners, we have reshaped the debate to include the struggle of immigrant women. Women's groups -- recognizing the shared issues between the movements -- have joined immigrant rights groups in demanding reform. NOW's very own president, Terry O'Neill, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience in September on this very issue.
One last note: this year's Love Your Body Day was a huge success and I am thrilled to have moderated our Google hangout on body image. We are grateful to our participants, Tamura Lomax and Heidi Lewis, for their time.
In sisterhood,

Chitra Panjabi, Membership Vice President

Message from Terry O'Neill

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to all of you, NOW's amazing, intrepid activists and supporters.
Thanks to your dedication - contacting legislators, writing letters to the editor, making phone calls, rallying, protesting and more - the women's movement has been a force to contend with in 2013. I hope your heart swelled with pride (I know mine did) as you read Chitra's and Bonnie's descriptions of the wins we achieved together this year. Thank you so much.
I'm excited about our plans for the coming year. We're going to work harder than ever to close the gender wage gap, raise the minimum wage, ensure universal access to safe, medically appropriate abortion care and contraception, and win marriage equality for same-sex couples. That means ensuring that women from all walks of life get engaged, stay engaged and mobilize to make change in their communities, their states, and the nation. So stay tuned. We have a lot of work to do together!
Thank you all again, for sharing with me the sheer joy of moving forward and fighting back.
Happy Holidays,

Terry O'Neill, President
P.S. As we look toward 2014 and make our plans, I urge you to make your own. Your first step? Take the Reproductive Rights Pledge for 2014.

Action Spotlight
Stand Together: The Reproductive Rights Pledge for 2014
Stand strong with NOW and take the Reproductive Rights Pledge for 2014! All women have the right to have the children they want, raise the children they have, and plan their families through safe, legal abortion, and access to contraception, and pre- and post-natal care. Take the pledge today!

Donate today and help us grow our grassroots! With your donation, we will expand our reach to even more states, train chapter leaders and deploy more field organizers. Thank you for your continued support.

Grassroot Spotlight
NOW chapters -- along with our allies -- planned actions at 1,448 Walmart stores in 46 states. The #Walmartstrikers hashtag trended on Twitter (no small accomplishment) with more than 83,000 tweets; a great many of those tweets came from NOW chapters. This was by far the most successful Black Friday yet!

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Say It, Sister! NOW's Blog for Equality Media Hall of Shame

NOW In the News...the best of 2013
Read more on NOW Read This

Action Alert: Contact State officials about workplace anti-bullying bill


Action is needed now. State elected officials are in the process of deciding which bills are going to be their priority in January, so you should contact them now to tell them that the Healthy Workplace Bill should be their number one priority in 2014.

S3863/A4965 – The NYS Healthy Workplace Bill
This bill proposes protection even for part-time workers and adjuncts. And you don't have to involve your union(s). Unless you want to. More about this later.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 932<br />
Albany, New York 12248<br />
(518) 455-3791<br />
Contact using web form: <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Sheldon-Silver/contact/" target="_blank">contact Sheldon Silver</a><br />

Senator Dean Skelos<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 909<br />
Albany, New York 12247<br />
(518) 455-3171<br />
Email: skelos@nysenate.gov<br />
Or contact using web form: <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/dean-g-skelos/contact" target="_blank">Contact Dean Skelos</a><br />

Senator Jeffrey D. Klein<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 913<br />
Albany, New York 12247<br />
(518) 455-3595<br />
Email: jdklein@senate.state.ny.us<br />
Or contact using web form: <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/jeffrey-d-klein/contact" target="_blank">Contact Jeffrey D. Klein</a><br />

Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 522<br />
Albany, New York 12248<br />
(518) 455-4800<br />
Email: heastiec@assembly.state.ny.us<br />

Assemblyman Steve Englebright<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 621<br />
Albany, New York 12248<br />
(518) 455-4804<br />
Contact using web form: <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Steve-Englebright/contact/" target="_blank">Steven englebright</a><br />

Senator Diane J. Savino<br />
Legislative Office Building, Room 315<br />
Albany, New York 12247<br />
(518) 455-2437<br />
Email: savino@senate.state.ny.us<br />
Or contact using web form: <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/diane-j-savino/contact" target="_blank">Contact Diane J. Savino</a><br />

Action Alert: Vote Online until Dec 13 to Support Domestic Violence Services


Please distribute widely

The National Network to End Domestic Violence, is a finalist in the Public Interest Registry contest to win a free website, and as you can see at www.nnedv.org they really need to win this ;>) 

You don't have to provide any information, or like their page, or any of that nonsense. Super easy. Rules: "only one vote per day will be accepted from any individual IP address" until Dec. 13.
Go to www.pir.org/vote and encourage others. Thank you!

Today Matters: help us win in 2014


National Organization for Women

Donate Now
Today is Giving Tuesday and it's all about celebrating nonprofits and the things we do together to change the world.
Will you support our work to protect women's rights?
We have to be at the top of our game for all of 2014 and NOW Foundation has a plan to promote our issues. We are going to make sure that everyone who supports women's rights is registered to vote and knows exactly what is at stake for women in the state legislatures and Congress. We are going to fight back against attacks on abortion rights and promote equal pay for all workers. We're going to win marriage equality in more states. We're going to continue to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare benefits.
And we need your support to make sure this vision becomes a reality.
We had an exciting year of wins in 2013 such as the reauthorization of VAWA, stopping the first-ever municipal ban on abortion, and achieved marriage equality in 6 states. We need to have an even bigger year of victories in 2014 and show that being anti-women's rights isn't a winning strategy.
On this Giving Tuesday we're grateful for the generosity of NOW Foundation donors -- like you -- and for your continued support.
Thanks for all the work you do for women's lives.

For women's lives,

Terry O'Neill, President
National Organization for Women

American Retailers Refuse To Contribute To Compensation Funds For Bangladeshi Workers


Please send out to your networks. Thanks.

Shame on @Sears Refusing to pay for 1,132 Bangladeshi Workers who died & more injured @ Rana Plaza http://ow.ly/rmCmd
DO NOT shop at @Walmart @childrensplace @Sears Won't pay for 1,132 dead Wrkrs @ Rana Plaza http://ow.ly/rmCmd #CyberMonday #fem2
Shame on @Walmart Refusing to pay for 1,132 Bangladeshi Workers who died & more injured @ Rana Plaza http://ow.ly/rmCmd
Shame on @childrensplace Refusing to pay for 1,132 Bangladeshi Workers who died & more injured @ Rana Plaza http://ow.ly/rmCmd

BY BRYCE COVERT       ON NOVEMBER 25, 2013 AT 12:33 PM

"American Retailers Refuse To Contribute To Compensation Funds For Bangladeshi Workers"

Walmart, Sears, Children's Place, and other American retailers that sold goods produced at Tazreen, a factory that caught fire and killed more than 100 people last year, and Rana Plaza, the factory that collapsed in April and killed 1,132 people, are refusing to contribute to the efforts to create compensation funds for the families of the victims and other injured workers, reports Steven Greenhouse at the New York Times.

Walmart has been asked to contribute to both funds given that documents showed that more than half of the Tazreen factory's production was made for its contractors and others showed that a Canadian contractor was producing goods for it at Rana Plaza. The company says that they were producing garments without its knowledge. Sears similarly had an unauthorized contractor producing clothes for it in Tazreen and the Children's Place had goods produced in Rana Plaza. Walmart and Sears confirmed for Greenhouse that they didn't intend to contribute and Children's Place didn't comment.
The International Labor Organization is working to set up the funds with the country's officials, labor groups, and retailers that include Primark, C&A, Benetton, Loblaw (owner of Joe Fresh), and El Corte Ingles. The fund would assist the families of those who died as well as the more than 1,800 workers who were injured with as much as $70 million, one of the largest funds in history.

Supporters say such funds are necessary to pay for medical care for the injured workers and to provide income to the families of those who died or are no longer able to work. That can help prevent children from quitting school and going to work. Such a fund was established after 29 workers died in the Hameem factory in 2010 with contributions from the Gap, J.C. Penney, and Target.

While the details get worked out, Rana Plaza victims and family members are still waiting on compensation. More than 2,500 injured workers and 4,000 families affected by the collapse still haven't received the full payments that they were promised by either the Bangladeshi government or the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, which represents companies that operated in the factory. Workers have protested the lack of compensation in the streets, only to be met with police violence.

The lack of compensation isn't the only broken promise that has been made to the country's garment workers after the tragedy. The government promised to raise the minimum wage, but the hike it put forward would still leave the workers the worst-paid in the world and fall far short of what they had been demanding. It also eased their ability to form unions but they have been met with violence, threats, and bribes when they try to organize. Workers have protested for higher wages and better working conditions but have been met with increasing violence, with two protesters shot to death last week.
Retailers also promised to upgrade factory safety, with 70 signing on to a legally binding plan and American retailers putting forward their own with less accountability. Yet neither plan has yet to result in inspections, although retailers have conducted some on their own. Walmart's preliminary inspections found that more than 15 percent couldn't pass a basic safety test, while other inspections from university engineers found that three-fifths are vulnerable to collapse.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

NOW News: Giving Tuesday, Albuquerque Victory, Black Friday, the 20-week abortion ban and more


NOW News and Action Summary

News: Giving Tuesday, Albuquerque Victory, Black Friday, the 20-week abortion ban and more!
November 26, 2013

Giving Tuesday

December 3 is Giving Tuesday -- a day after the hubbub of commercialism that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday to give to your favorite charities. Learn more about Giving Tuesday and consider a tax-deductible gift to the NOW Foundation. We thank you for your continuing support of the fight for women's rights.

Albuquerque Victory!

NOW celebrates the voters of Albuquerque for rejecting a ban on abortions past 20 weeks. The proposed ban would have been unprecedented, but voters kept Albuquerque from being the first municipality to explicitly limit women's access to abortion care in this way.

Black Friday

NOW activists are busy organizing actions at Walmarts across the country to demand fair pay for Walmart workers. National is spearheading a social media campaign and coordinating with our allies to aid chapters with on the ground actions.
Do you want to participate? Find a protest near you and encourage your chapter leader to utilize NOW's Black Friday social media kits (available on the chapters only site) for Facebook and Twitter.

Officer Updates

Terry O'Neill wrote a Huffington post article about JFK's contribution to women's rights and what he would want us to do next. What is that you ask? Check out her blog for the answer.
Terry was also featured in a video about protecting Social Security Benefits. Watch it here.
Chitra Panjabi spoke to Philadelphia NOW and CLUW on November 7th about the importance of unions to women and the important relationship the women's movements continues to build with labor.
Chitra was a panelist at the Grey Panthers convention in Rockville, MD. Her panel -- "Overcoming Isms Together" -- focused on the intersectional nature of the social justice movement.

NOW on Social Media

Walmart is at it again. Now they are asking people to donate food to their associates so they can celebrate Thanksgiving. The corporation that makes $17 billion in profits each year can't pay their associates enough for them to be able to live? We thing that's unacceptable and we're shaming Walmart on social media. Check out our most recent graphic on Facebook.
Be the first to know the latest and greatest from NOW! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr!

Shop with NOW

It's that time of year again. Time to buy presents for your family and friends. Here's a great gift idea: a tote bag, t-shirt, a mug, water bottles - even an infant onesie, with the NOW logo on it! Find great, NOW branded items through our Printfection storefront.
If you know your loved ones want something else you can also support NOW by shopping at Amazon! Use this link to enter Amazon and NOW will receive a percentage of any purchase you make - at no extra cost to you!

Action Spotlight
Stop the 20 week Abortion Ban
The 20 week abortion ban has reared its ugly head again. Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a dangerous and illegal 20 week abortion ban in the Senate. It's especially important to oppose this now because a similar bill recently passed the House of Representatives.
Email your Senators and tell them to vote against this unconstitutional infringement on women's rights.

Abortion is under attack again from all sides. Senator Graham recently introduced a federal 20-Week abortion ban and now cities are moving to ban abortions. We need to stand up against this infringement on our rights and protect women's ability to make their own health decisions.
However, we can't fight without your support. Please donate so we can keep abortion legal.

Grassroot Spotlight
Tompkins County NOW protested the opening of a local Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby has sued to overturn the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Montgomery County NOW has been out in front of a minimum wage bill for their county. National NOW President Terry O'Neill recently joined Montgomery County NOW -- and union allies - to show support for the legislation.

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Say It, Sister! NOW's Blog for Equality Media Hall of Shame

Read more on NOW Read This

Sex Trafficking Conference on Saturday, Dec 7 in Brooklyn, NY


Hidden in Plain Sight!

Sex Trafficking in NYC

Girls and boys here trapped in commercial sex exploitation
Women and children trafficked into the US as sex slaves

FREE Campus-Community Conference
Speakers and workshops

SUNY Downstate Medical Center
School of Public Health
395 Lenox Road
Alumni Auditorium
Brooklyn, NY  11203

Saturday, December 7, 2013
9:00 am to 1:30 pm

Light Lunch

For more information or to pre-register
Email: kbenker@downstate.edu

Annual Dr. Mahfouz H. Zaki Memorial Event
Co-sponsored by the College of Medicine chapter of AMWA and the Occupational Therapy Student Council.