+
upworthy

women s rights

Pop Culture

Watch Lucille Ball repeatedly tell a host to take his hands off female audience members

People laughed every time she told him 'hands off,' but she was stone cold serious.

Lucille Ball was a powerhouse both on screen and off.

According to her daughter, Lucille Ball never considered herself a feminist, but there's no question she blazed many a trail for women. A working mother in real life, she depicted issues facing housewives with her brilliant television comedy and became the first female studio head in Hollywood. She broke glass ceilings but wasn't particularly outspoken about women's rights. In fact, in a 1980 interview with "People," she said, “They can use my name for equal rights, but I don’t get out there and raise hell because I’ve been so liberated, I have nothing to squawk about.”

Ball empowered women by example—and by speaking her mind. Carol Burnett shared a story on PBS about how Ball was unhappy with a script for her new show, but women at that time didn't raise concerns about such things. Men could express criticism and demand changes, but women simply didn't. Ball did—and firmly—despite being non-confrontational by nature. Later she told Burnett, "Kid, that's when they put the 's' at the end of my name."

A video has been circulating on social media showing Ball's no-nonsense way of speaking up when she felt the need to, and people are gushing over it.

In 1978, Ball participated in a Q & A session with UCLA theater arts students on the television program "America Alive!" The viral clip shows Ball repeatedly telling one of the hosts, David Sheehan, to take his hands off of female audience members when they were asking a question.

Watch:

@femalequotient

We love Lucy ❤️

People laughed every time, but Ball didn't so much as crack a smile during her clear, simple, repeated "hands off" admonitions. For 1978 especially, her advocacy for the women in the audience was extraordinary. Sheehan wasn't touching these women in a lewd or sexual manner, but he was touching them in a way that he wouldn't have touched a man who was asking a question. Most people wouldn't have thought much of it at the time, but Lucille Ball immediately noted it and didn't let it stand.

"I love that she didn't even laugh when the room was," shared one commenter. "She was not joking."

"'Take your hands off her, David,' should be a sound AND a t-shirt," wrote another.

"He kept trying. She kept telling him. Love her," shared another.

"Lucille Ball always reminds me of my grandma," offered another. "She hated to be seen as delicate, and she hated men that would touch her even more. She would say, stone-faced, 'Get your paws off.'"

Even if Sheehan was casually touching those women out of habit and not ill intent, it's laudable that Ball made a point of making him aware of it. Unfortunately, women are still having to deal with men touching them without being invited to, but seeing Lucille Ball's serious face while calling it out is a good reminder that women have been fighting this battle for a long time. Good for her for using her microphone and the respect afforded her to speak up for the young women in her audience.


This is Briana "Bree" Wiseman, a pastry chef and restaurant manager from Tennessee.


A photo of Briana "Bree" WisemanPosted by Bree Wiseman on Saturday, May 6, 2017



The 22-year-old shared a photo of her dog on Facebook next to a plate of food and it went viral — but not just because her dog is really, really cute. In the caption, Wiseman made a powerful statement about sexual assault, using her dog, and the plate of food, as a metaphor.

Wiseman wrote:

To the people that say women get raped due to the way they are dressed. This is my dog. His favorite food is steak. He is eye level with my plate. He won't get any closer because I told him no. If a dog is better behaved than you are, you need to reevaluate your life. Feel free to share, my dog is adorable.

So far, over 325,000 people have shared the post. And thousands have left comments, most of them in full support of both the message, and the dog.

Wiseman told the Huffington Post she decided to share the post to take a stand against victim-blaming, in part because of her own experiences with sexual assault. She said:

The only person to blame in a rape offense is the rapist. It was their decision to rape. People shouldn't have to worry about what they chose to wear for fear of rape. I want people to see that this is a problem, and to stand together against victim-shaming.

She continued:

If a 4-year-old pit bull understands the word no,' even though he is looking at something he wants so bad he is literally drooling, then adults should understand 'no,' no matter how the other adult is dressed... How is it that a simple-minded animal has the ability to understand better than a large part of the adult population?

Good question. Although we already knew dogs are better than people. That being said, kudos to Wiseman for speaking up, and to her dog, for being such a good boy.

This article first appeared on 04.16.19 and was orginally published by our partners at someecards.

Identity

Iranian woman sings solo in historic mosque, defying law against women singing in public

The single finger she raised to the man who approached to stop her said, "Nope, not until I'm finished."

A woman courageously sings solo in Esfahan. Singing in public is forbidden for women in Iran.

Just before the historic 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a woman on the other side of the globe was making her own call for women's rights. Tahirih, a Persian theologian, poet and social activist, walked into a gathering of men without wearing her veil. While a veilless woman hardly seems notable to Western sensibilities, in 19th-century Persia—what is now Iran—it was an unspeakable act of heresy.

Baring her full face, Tahirih boldly proclaimed that the day of the equality of men and women had arrived. Gender equality was a core tenet of the Babí faith she had embraced, and she would be executed for it just four years later—choked to death with her own scarf, her body unceremoniously tossed into a well.

But her reported final words echo to the present day: "You can kill me as soon as you like, but you will never stop the emancipation of women."


Nearly two centuries later, the women of Iran are still fighting for their emancipation from oppressive laws. We've seen waves of protests in the streets since the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022, with women demanding the right to choose whether or not to wear the hijab, the Islamic head covering, without fearing for their lives.

The current Islamist regime enacted the hijab law in 1983, the same year the Iranian government publicly hanged 10 Bahá'í women—most of whom were in their 20s, one only 17—for refusing to recant their faith. Those executions, conducted one by one so the women were forced to watch each other die, showed the lengths the regime would go to in their extremism, drew condemnation from around the world and further demonstrated the courage and fortitude of Iranian women who refuse to bend to injustice.

Acts of civil disobedience are dangerous for women in Iran to this day, but that hasn't stopped them from happening. In a video shared by Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on Twitter, we see a woman standing in what Alinejad shared is in one of Esfahan's historic mosques. All the woman is doing is singing, but that alone is a crime in Iran, where the government has forbidden women from singing in public.

This woman insists that her beautiful voice be heard, however. Even when a man approaches to stop her, she doesn't skip a beat. Rather, she continues her chanting while holding up her finger as if to say, "Nope. You will wait until I'm finished." Incredibly, he immediately backs off in the face of her calm confidence and courage.

Watch and listen:

In a country where women have been killed for daring to question authority and challenge the status quo, such an act of defiance is all the more impressive. According to ClassicFM, the woman was singing a poem from the Sufi tradition, a mystical form of Islam that gave us the widely beloved poetry of Rumi and Hafiz.

People in the comments responded with awe at the woman's voice and the way she commanded respect with her very presence.

Iranian women have a long history of using their voices—and their actions—to proclaim their inherent right to freedom. And until their basic human rights are secured for good, the rest of the world will continue to stand with them in support and solidarity.

Democracy

Patagonia says it will pay bail for employees arrested in abortion rights protests

A powerful statement from one of our nation's most trusted brands.

Everyone loves someone who had an abortion and other prote… | Flickr

In today's economy, people who work are demanding more accountability from their employers: better wages, benefits, transparency and alignment on values. The emphasis on shared values is coming to the forefront in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which removes federal protections for abortion. States, local governments and individuals are scrambling to react to the decision, which tosses out 50 years of legal precedence.

While the nation sorts out the politics and future legal decisions surrounding reproductive health, some companies are getting ahead of the issue by coming out publicly to support abortion rights, commonly referred to as "reproductive justice" by activists and advocates of a woman's right to choose. One of the most outspoken companies is Patagonia, which announced in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that it will not only financially support individuals who choose to have an abortion but it will provide funds to pay the bail for individuals who face legal expenses while protesting for reproductive justice.


In a statement on Patagonia's LinkedIn page, the company writes:

"Caring for employees extends beyond basic health insurance, so we take a more holistic approach to coverage and support overall wellness to which every human has a right. That means offering employees the dignity of access to reproductive health care. It means supporting employees’ choices around if or when they have a child. It means giving parents the resources they need to work and raise children."

As part of that commitment, Patagonia announced that all U.S. employees are covered for abortion care as part of their healthcare coverage. "Where restrictions exist, travel, lodging and food are covered." This includes 100% of copay costs for mental health visits.

Importantly, Patagonia showed why reproductive rights and healthcare are truly a holistic matter. In the same statement, Patagonia listed how it also supports those individuals and families who choose to have children, writing:

We support new parents with:

  • Two types of paid leave: 4 weeks of paid pregnancy disability leave and/or 12 weeks of paid parental bonding leave.
  • Private spaces to feed infants.
  • Child-care support for parents on work trips.
  • Subsidized, on-site high-quality child care.
  • Child-care stipends for parents who do not live near one of our child-care centers.

But it was a political component of Patagonia's message that went viral, with the company stating that all part-time and full-time employees will receive:

  • Training and bail for those who peacefully protest for reproductive justice.
  • Resources to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
  • Time off to vote.
Educational voting resources and time off to vote simply should not be a political issue. Our democracy and our politics would be stronger with greater participation and understanding of how our government works. It's a principle that proves values regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum. If you want to advocate and vote for greater public financial assistance, it's obviously helpful to know which programs need more help and how to speak to that. Likewise, if you are a critic of government waste and believe certain issues are better handled in the private sector, participating as an informed voter helps your cause.

But it's the willingness of Patagonia to provide financial cover for its employees who peacefully protest in favor of reproductive justice that truly makes the company stand out. How many companies are willing to go that extra mile to empower their companies to be good citizens, not just good employees?

As a company here at Upworthy, we've always been proud of the work Patagonia does to protect our planet from the threat of climate change. Putting principles first is a great way for a company such as Patagonia to show that it not only makes a great product but that it uses the goodwill and trust its brand has created to help make the world a better place for everyone. We'd all like to see a world where those principles are restored to the highest order within the halls of our government, where elected officials do the work of the people for the people. But until we achieve that more perfect union, it's important to know that where we spent our money outside of politics can go a long way toward protecting the values we cherish.