Jen Thorpe

Can men lead the women’s movement?

As many of you have heard, there was further violence against women at the Noord Street Taxi rank earlier this month. Two young women were assaulted by a mob of violent men, justified by the premise that they shouldn’t have been wearing revealing clothing. We have been here before, and this violence is evidence that…

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Crime: Are you to blame?

Safety is a difficult thing to contemplate in a country where nowhere is really “safe”. It is hard to pretend that we don’t know. We can’t ignore the high crime statistics, and police commissioner requirements of stomach in chest out. It’s almost impossible to meet anyone who doesn’t know anyone who has been victim of…

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Criminalising adolescent sexuality — murky waters

I went to a thrilling dialogue at the Commission for Gender Equality last week. The topic was the ages of consent for sex, in terms of our legislation, and the complications that the current legislation has. At the moment the law (the Sexual Offences Act) says that if you’re 16 years and older you can…

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Durex cocks it up on the eve of 16 Days

I received a forwarded horrific tweet moments ago. The tweet in question came from Durex SA, and went as follows: @DurexSA: Why did God give men penises? So they’d have at least one way to shut a woman up. #DurexJoke When I pointed out to them that this endorsed violence against women, their response was:…

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Why feminists (and all men and women) should care about paternity leave

When two people decide to have a child, is it fair that one of those people gets more paid time away from work to bond with that child? Is it also fair that this situates parental responsibility firmly in the hands of the parent with more leave? In South Africa, women are given up to…

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Why I’m boycotting the Foschini Group

T-shirts that are offensive towards women, ignorant of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa, or are simply offensive are a reflection of a culture that says we shouldn’t care about these things, because misogyny, HIV/Aids and women’s rights are not something to be taken seriously. When a major brand like Foschini chooses to produce shirts…

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#occupysouthafrica – for who and by who?

Last night I attended a planning meeting for #occupysandton the Johannesburg branch of the occupy movement that is spreading around the world. It began on Wall Street with a focus on the greed that has begun to characterise the economic order, and the inequality between the 99% and the 1%. They call themselves “a horizontally…

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Metro police would rather police women’s sexuality than men’s violence

According to their Facebook Page “V-Girls is a global movement of girl activists inspired by I Am an Emotional Creature” — Eve Ensler’s latest collection of monologues for and about girls. The aim of the book, and of the movement is to inspire girls to take agency over their lives, and to encourage them to…

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‘Good’ girls, sex and Gareth Cliff

The Independent Online reported today that Gareth Cliff has been reported to the BCCSA for sexist comments while interviewing Angela Larkan, a young female philanthropist. To begin the interview, Cliff praised her for starting her work at 22, saying it was unusual because most 22-year-olds “do nothing but lie on their backs with their legs…

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‘I’m too sexy to rape’

You may have read that DA MP Masizole Mnqasela was acquitted on rape charges in Cape Town a few weeks ago, and claimed that he was “too sexy to be a rapist”. You may also have read that Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba thought that the Slutwalk was an opportunity for him to “get lucky”….

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