The ‘Women Eating On the Tube Protest’ Was Weird
There’s recently been some media coverage and a lot of hoo-ha surrounding a Facebook page set up to gather pictures of women eating on the London Underground. Before it was removed from Facebook, the group—titled “Women Eating On the Tube”—provided an outlet for camera-wielding voyeurs to take a break from sneaking up-skirts and instead indulge in a far more manageable, less arrest-able form of creepiness.
The page’s founder is “filmmaker and artist” Tony Burke. He claims that taking candid iPhone shots of women mid-chew is “an observational study” and “reportage photography,” as opposed to a bunch of assholes embarrassing busy people for indulging their basic human need to feed themselves.
The page was taken down last Friday. On the day of its demise, Burke visited the Radio 4 studios to sit down with pissed-off student Lucy Brisbane McKay, who had announced a protest on the Circle line against the page, “Women Eating Wherever the Fuck They Want.” McKay was correct in what she said: The policing of women’s behavior in this way is unacceptable, weird, degrading, and pretty embarrassing for Burke. But McKay said she wanted it to be a “celebration of women eating.”
Molls: Australia’s Female Douchebags
Earlier this year, two young women in Queensland, Australia, were filmed verbally and physically assaulting an old man on a bus while shouting slurs about aboriginal people. The resulting video introduced the world to Australia’s one truly unique contribution to the global taxonomy of douches: the moll. Most countries have loud, irritating, and offensive youths, but only we have the special breed of scrag capable of committing a violent racist act while wearing $40 shoes, $300 sunglasses, and a cocktail dress.
The moll shares several things in common with her male counterpart. She loves drinking and her friends, is not above punching someone in the face, and spends eons getting an outfit together. Her dresses resemble those worn by early-2000s Latin Grammy Award winners. She gets her tan from a can and works in places with names like Ice, Magnetic, or Xposed. At times, she’s indistinguishable from any other young woman. What sets her apart is the pure primal aggression with which she lives her life—she controls every situation through a terrifying mix of heightened competitive sexuality, simmering violence, and a confidence derived from a dozen or so watermelon Cruisers.Before dark they stalk suburban malls in tracksuits and $40 worth of makeup, calling shop assistants bitches for not sharing their staff discount at Cotton on Body [sort of the Aussie equivalent to Victoria’s Secret]. When night falls they shed their fleecy skins and emerge as screeching and bedazzled butterflies. It’s maximum impact with zero body hair.
The cornerstone of all their social interactions is alcohol. In the early evening they pre-game with friends on the back decks of their parents’ houses. Living at home has its advantages: You never have to learn to do laundry, you get to use your dad’s good stereo to listen to Jason Derulo, and you can pour the savings into drinking alcopops with your BFFs every Friday and Saturday night.
They have highly complicated female friendships which were formed in the first few days of high school and have been tested by years of online passive aggression. You’ll know who they are before you meet them because of the thousands of selfies they post every time they come within 15 yards of a bathroom. You’ll also know what all their friend’s bathrooms look like (spoiler alert: purple towels). These are the women they get shitfaced with before going out to meet the guys they will drink under the table. Drinking serves several purposes: It limbers them up enough to both flash the party photographer at the club and, if the mood strikes, punch someone in the face.
Talking to Girls About the Good Ol’ Number Two Taboo
The toilet taboo is a widespread Western phenomenon—especially among girls. But the fact that girls take a dump less frequently than boys do is actually a danger to their health. More than 60 percent of women suffer from stomach problems directly caused by avoiding the bowl, according to a report released last year by Swedish scientists. If these issues get too severe, you might eventually end up with rectal cancer. To highlight this, we asked some girls (and boys) how they feel about the good ol’ number-two taboo.
American Apparel bra, American Apparel denim shorts, shoes from Vans
Sindy: I’m cool talking about my toilet habits with friends. I even talk with my boyfriend. I actually just did take a dump, and my boyfriend’s in bed just in front of the bathroom door, so he knows I’m in here. I just turn on the tap and do my thing. But the water needs to be running. If the tap doesn’t work I won’t do it. That’s my cover-up.
Beyond Retro kimono
Amanda: I’ve realized after saying certain things that I’m more comfortable talking about poop than most people are. But I’m not so cool with taking a dump outside. I’ll pee anywhere, though. I’d probably be uncomfortable if my partner didn’t poop. My tip is to turn really loud music on while you’re at it.
American Apparel bodysuit, Beyond Retro trousers, shoes from Eytys
Sara: The weirdest place I’ve taken a dump at is either when I’ve been at some festival in some bush with loads of tents surrounding me or, when I was younger, I liked to poop as I was hanging off that pole you tie your boat around on a pier. I grabbed the pole, put my bum out, and hung over the water. My best friend and I used to do that together, but that was a pretty long time ago. And once I sat in the lap of my boyfriend when he was doing it. I guess you can say I’m pretty open about it.
Beyond Retro top, Hospital panties, Adidas socks
Peter: I think it’s rather abnormal for girls to pretend that they don’t do number two. But I have noticed that girls avoid doing it until much later when they’ve eventually dared to tell me. I’m the same, which is pretty silly really. Just do it!
Amanda: I’m comfortable talking about my toilet habits with my friends, but I wouldn’t talk about them with a guy unless we were in a really tight and good relationship. I don’t really have much to say about it to be honest.
A UFO Pleasure Cult Is Fixing Vaginas in Africa
If you’re the kind of person who keeps up with UFO spiritualists, you’ll know Raëlians as the group who believe that Earth was created by a vastly superior alien civilization. According to its French founder, a racecar driver and singer-songwriter named Raël, the aliens (called Elohim) created humans in their own image and have been guiding us throughout history with the help of messengers—humans they’ve had special contact with. If you guessed these messengers include people with names like Jesus and Buddha, you guessed right.
But while that might sound far-fetched to some, they also believe in the importance of pleasure—sexual or otherwise—in the pursuit of spiritual growth. And that sounds pretty reasonable. This stance has led them to create a nonprofit called Clitoraid, which champions reconstructive surgery for victims of female circumcision in the developing world. This month they opened their first “Pleasure Hospital” in Burkina Faso, where world-class surgeons will treat women for free, rebuilding their clitorises to give them the ability to orgasm. After speaking to Clitoraid’s smoky-voiced French communications director, Nadine Gary, it’s hard to deny that this sexy group of UFO enthusiasts are the best dudes in Africa.
VICE: Hey, Nadine. How’s the Pleasure Hospital coming along?
Nadine Gary: Oh, it’s going great. It’s the last stretch, and there’s a lot going on. The equipment is set up. The patients are being taken care of for medical visits before their operation. Everything is coming together, really.
Are you open yet?
We opened on the second or third of March. Surgeons from the United States came on the first, and that’s when we started treating people. We’d never treated anybody in that hospital before.
That’s exciting. Why did you call it the Pleasure Hospital?
Because, really, that’s what it’s about. It’s about restoring pleasure—sexual pleasure. We know we’re putting our finger on a taboo. Women’s sexuality has always been something people look down upon, that women feel guilty about. With that psyche of feeling so guilty, so ashamed, they go to the extent of cutting off somebody’s clitoris. We want to restore women’s integrity and women’s beauty. Part of the woman’s duty is her sexuality, which is very noble.
I Love Wolf-Whistles and Catcalls, Am I a Bad Feminist?
Last summer I went to Ibiza, Spain, where I was catcalled, sexually objectified, and treated like a piece of meat by men the entire week. And it was absolutely awesome. It got to the point where I couldn’t even be bothered to follow any of it up. Every time some hot guy got fresh with me, I just thought, OK, I could fuck you, but there might be some even hotter stud serving it up later. I guess it’s like when I used to live by the sea and never got around to going swimming. It was just always there, you know? You forget to get wet.
So forgive me, looking around this misery we call London, England in March, for feeling a little sad that I’m not in Ibiza, Land of Sexual Objectification. I love catcalls. I love car toots. I love random men smiling “Hello beautiful!” like my mere presence just made their day. I like being called “princess” and ignoring them as I giggle inside. I like being eye-fucked on the escalator and wondering if I’ve just made him spring a boner. That eye-fuck, by the way, is an age-old mating signal. I live for it.
So yeah, I’m a bit of a slut. I also used to be a prostitute. And before that, well, a boy. Uh-huh. And I’m a total attention junkie. So I may not represent all women. Who does, though? I’m a feminist because I don’t like men telling me how to think or behave or experience the world and I don’t like women doing it, either. Laura Bates recently wrote an article for the Guardian called “Women Should Not Accept Street Harassment as ‘Just a Compliment.’” I truly admire the work Laura does with Everyday Sexism to highlight some horrendous abuse, and you should visit the site and check out some of the shit people have had to deal with. It’s awful. And she’s not wrong. No one should accept harassment. Harassment, by its very nature, is unacceptable. But is catcalling always harassment?
"80 percent of women who experienced mostly negative emotions still felt that abortion was the right choice for them."
—Debunking the Seven Most Common Lies About Abortion
Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About Abortion
Founded in 2007, the Museum for Contraception and Abortion in Vienna, Austria, is world’s most thorough collection of all the different methods and objects humans have used to stop them producing other humans. Recently I was given a tour of the museum by Christian Fiala, an abortion provider who founded the museum (pictured, below left), and this is what he told me as we walked through the exhibits.
There is, of course, a backstory as to why I started working in this field [of abortion and contraception], which is considered a big taboo in Austria—even more so in the Alpine region of Tyrol, where they wouldn’t even rent out an apartment to my girlfriend and me because we weren’t married.
Back then, I had just started attending med school and was shocked to discover that loads of my colleagues didn’t know how to protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, despite their professional education.
How to insert an old-timey pessary into the cervix
After spending a year in Thailand, where I saw women dying on a daily basis during failed self-induced abortions, I decided to take action. I wanted to help and support the victims and help educate their partners about the risks and possibilities—especially when the choice isn’t fatherhood.
Watch: Lady Cadets of Pakistan
For most women in Pakistan, a career in such a traditionally male-dominated field like soldiering is still a remote prospect. It’s also a tough slog, regardless of gender.
Atlanta: Strip City
Until last year, twerking was the reserved for strip clubs and the dark corners of YouTube. Now, it’s a word in your grandma’s vocabulary, thanks to Miley Cyrus dry-humping that old man’s leg at the VMAs and op-ed writers all over the world losing their collective shit.
In Atlanta: Strip City, we travel to Atlanta—the city whose strip clubs pioneered the booty clap back when Miley was still learning to walk. Host Jo Fuertes-Knight talks to the superstar strippers of ATL about how they feel about the music industry’s appropriation of their world. She also sits down for a consultation with a buttock implant doctor, tries out a “twerk-cercise” class, and investigates “stripping licenses,” which allow the state of Georgia to profit from the enduring popularity of watching women take their clothes off onstage.
With unique access to three of the city’s most notorious strip clubs, their best-known dancers, management, and loyal customers, Atlanta: Strip City explores what it’s really like to get naked and dance for money in the strip club capital of the world.