In 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon, Amanda Abou Abdallah and Rana Askoul started a woman-led media platform named “Khateera”—the feminine form of “dangerous.” Its articles and web series show “Smatouha Minni” or “You Heard It from Me” tackle controversial topics including feminism, patriarchy, labor, sexual harassment, discrimination, and women’s health and sexuality. Abdallah states, “Women like to be called ‘khateera.’ It means all of these things: It means you’re strong, it means you own your own decisions. You’re more aware of the world. You’re more aware of your rights. You’re more aware of your own value.” The show, popular with young people, expresses the distinctiveness of Arab feminism. Some episodes have male hosts to show men can be allies and that gender stereotyping also affects men.
In August, lawmakers in the Mexican city of Chihuahua banned the singing of lyrics in live performances that sexually objectify or promote violence towards women. Violators can be fined up to $70,000, with money raised going to domestic violence shelters and other women’s programs. Misogynist, violent lyrics are increasingly common in popular regional music, and reports of domestic violence are steeply rising. Patricia Ulate, head of the city commission on women, families, and gender equality, introduced the reform. She stated, “Chihuahua is one of the five municipalities in the state with a gender alert, declared due to high rates of structural violence against women. Any action that contributes to eradicating these circumstances counts.”
On July 1, Dr. Susan Love died at age 75 of leukemia, leaving her wife, surgeon Dr. Helen Sperry Cooksey,and daughter, Katie Patton-LoveCooksey. She was part of the 1970s feminist movement revolutionizing the doctor/patient relationship, allowing patients more knowledge and input into treatments. She encouraged doctors to replace condescension with kindness and supported questions. She helped replace the routine use of mastectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy with lumpectomy and radiation when possible and searched for a way to completely prevent breast cancer. She stated, “Wanting to keep your breast is not about vanity. It’s about being intact as a person.” In the 1990s, she criticized routine use of hormone replacement therapy for menopause, later found to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and strokes. She co-founded the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Doctor Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer and the Love Research Army and co-wrote Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book and Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.
On July 26, Irish rock singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor died. In 1992, on the TV show Saturday Night Live, she famously ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II. She was protesting the Catholic church’s institutionalized abuse of women and children and the climate of abuse in Ireland. She received vicious criticism and career damage, but activist groups later exposed widespread sexual abuse by clergy. O’Connor had looked at this same photo while her mother brutally beat her. At age 14, she was sent to one of the Magdalene laundries where girls received life sentences of hard labor for rebellious behavior, including pregnancy. In 2013, the activist group Justice for Magdalenes forced an apology from the Irish government after reporting abuse and the murders of babies to the UN Committee against Torture. O’Connor’s songs covered the Irish freedom fight and social injustices including female genital mutilation and police brutality.