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The Globe and Mail

Rihanna, M.T. trial

Feminism in the Web era: It ain't pretty

Globe and Mail, by JUDITH TIMSON, March 24, 2009

Recent events have made me wonder despairingly whether decades of modern feminism have made any significant dent at all in the quality of relationships between young women and men.

The Web chatter by teenage girls who have been casually forgiving of rapper Chris Brown's alleged battering of his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, has stymied me. If you judge by some of the posts, many girls seem to think she must have done something to provoke it, or that she is equally to blame. A New York Times story last week, headlined "Teenage girls stand by their man," quoted one Grade 9er: "She probably made him mad for him to react like that. You know, like, bring it on?"

Equally frustrating were the soulless text messages from the shocking M.T. murder trial in Toronto, in which a 17-year-old girl who can only be identified as M.T. was convicted of first-degree murder last week after spurring her boyfriend to stab another girl to death, partly in exchange for sexual favours.

These vile text messages, flatly discussing "bj's" and "bang bangs" and fuelled by the obsessive irrational hatred of one girl toward another, depicted an emotional landscape devoid of respect, conscience or heart. They also revealed a very retro scenario - a monster girl who thinks her power lies in bitchily, and then murderously, vanquishing another girl.

In these cases, girls see other girls as the enemy in the endless hand-to-hand combat to capture guys. Chris Brown is better off outta there, say those girls. Don't you know?

As for the convicted M.T., she joins a small cadre of supposedly empowered girl killers, so I can't exactly claim she is a feminist victim.

But her ferocious wish to have her perceived rival, 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel, "dead in coffin" stems from an ages-old pre-feminist scenario.

In it, girls believe they don't have a lot of real power, that it lies only in attracting or keeping a guy, and they'll go to desperate ends to do so.

Why on earth is this still in play? Many boy-girl relationships today have become a retro minefield because of the confluence of several things.

First, there has been the sexualization of young women very early in their teens, so that being "hot" and attracting boys becomes an early measurement of their worth, and remains that way well into adulthood.

Second, there's been a devaluing of feminism and its true principles in the media and popular culture. Feminism has been both trivialized - softened into what I call "you go girl-ism" - and demonized by exaggerating scary things such as man hatred.

Yet feminism at its best offered women - and men for that matter - the idea that anyone should be able to achieve what she wants regardless of gender, and that loving and successful domestic relationships could consist of two equal partners. It offered teenage girls - and boys - an alternate universe. They could reach out for this universe and try it on for size. They could discover its flaws but admire its aims.

What makes me tear my hair out is that teenage girls today have been given every single tool they need to gain their own equality: the words, the books, the laws; the examples everywhere of women, sometimes their own mothers, achieving at work and living in respectful and equal domestic relationships.

So is it our abject failure that some of them excuse male brutality or participate in vicious girl-to-girl cruelty? Not exactly.

Teens live in their own hermetically sealed culture, never more than today. We can mouth all the nice feminist principles we want of equality and self-respect, but many girls have been pulled in a far more dangerous direction by a toxic culture that apparently still doesn't know how to really value girls and women. The Internet has made girl-on-girl viciousness so much more virulent, with mass shunnings, false rumour-mongering and online slagging of each other.

We may not have a lot of sway over this culture, but we still need to keep on saying: shame on you. Shame on those girls for forgiving Chris Brown. Shame on girls, too, for being so savagely and even dangerously mean to each other in order to get the guy. This kind of behaviour shows a lack of self-respect and even a lack of ambition. It's the retro road to nowhere.

But there is reason to hope that road ends naturally, after high school: One young woman I know, about to graduate from university, pointed out to me that her fellow students don't feel forgiving of Chris Brown at all, and that much of this alarming behaviour may have "a lot to do with immaturity." In which case, all I can say about maturity is, "you know, like, bring it on?"

Mainichi Daily News| Woman who cut off her newborn son's genitals handed 5-year prison term

Woman who cut off her newborn son's private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.  Read More ..

Toronto Sun logo

Mom's death dance


Toronto Sun
September 29, 2004

SINGLE MOM Clara DaSilva admitted yesterday she danced the night away while her 2-year-daughter was dying of dehydration in a sweltering apartment. Tiny toddler Adrianna Maria DaSilva was abandoned for at least 33 hours in a 35C room before her mom discovered her dead on Sept. 9, 2002.

Clara DaSilva, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Justice David Watt will sentence her shortly after Jan. 17 following a five-day trial with one contested fact -- the allegation that her purse, with keys and cash, was stolen at a club the day of her child's death.   Read More ..

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle


HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.


Yeeda Topham killed her baby son but walks free

Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008

A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.

Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.    Read More ..

Mother Charged with Killing Her Baby

Firefighters Find Baby's Body In Washing Machine

Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set

NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.

Toronto Sun - Mother found guilty of killing all 4 babies

"Murder in the nursery"
Australian mom killed her 4 babies

TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003

It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.

Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.

Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.

In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.

The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.

"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.

"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."

Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.

Mother Shoots father, has his Baby and then kills the Baby and Herself

Investigation into the Death of Zachary Andrew Turner (18 July 2002 to 18 August 2003)

Zachary Turner, a 13 months old baby, died at the hands of his fugitive mother, Dr. Shirley Turner, who killed him and then committed suicide on August 18, 2003.

Turner was facing extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 2001 murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby, Zachary's father.

28-year-old Dr. Andrew Bagby was found shot to death in Keystone State Park, 55 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.

Turner fled to Newfoundland, Canada where Zachary was born. She was out on bail against the wishes of U.S. authorities at the time of Zachary's death. Read More ..

Boy, 8, found dead; mom faces charge

Canadian Press, (various newspapers across Canada, including the Toronto Star) Aug. 16, 2006.

ISLE LA MOTTE, Vt. A Montreal mother recovering from alleged self-inflicted wounds will be charged in the coming days with murdering her 8-year-old son, whose body was found in Lake Champlain, a Vermont state attorney said today.

I am going to prepare a charge of first-degree murder, Grand Isle States Attorney David Miller said in a telephone interview. Read More ..

Mothers Who Kill Their Own Children


Affair led to mother murdering her own kids

Days after buying another woman Valentine's Day flowers, a Sydney father came home to find a trail of blood leading him to the bodies of his two young children lying next to their mother, a court has been told.

Australian Associated Press
Aug 24 2009

The woman had given the couple's three-year-old daughter and four-year-old son rat poison and an unidentified pink liquid before smothering them and killing them, court papers said.

She then tried to take her own life, the NSW Supreme Court was told.

Doctors agree the mother, from Canley Heights in Sydney's west, was suffering from "major depression" when she poisoned her children on February 19 last year.

She has pleaded not guilty to the two murders by reason of mental illness.

As her judge-alone trial began, the mother's lawyer told Justice Clifton Hoeben his client didn't think life was worth living after learning about her husband's affair.

Wicked mum murdered son, 8, with electrical cables after he caught her in sex romps with his granddad

The Mirror, UK, October 19 2016

Vicious Veronica Panarello throttled her son Loris to death and abandoned his body in a remote gully after he found out about the fling.

Veronica Panarello, the mother-killer

The "manipulative" mum,  wept as she was jailed for 30 years at a court in Italy on Monday


A wicked mum who brutally murdered her eight-year-old son after he allegedly discovered she was having an affair with his grandfather has been jailed.

Vicious Veronica Panarello throttled her son Loris Stival with electrical cables and abandoned his body in a remote gully after he found out about the fling.

The "manipulative" mum wept as she was jailed for 30 years at a court in Italy on Monday.

Panarello, 28, had tried to pretend her son had been abducted to cover up the horrendous killing in November 2014.

Panarello throttled her eight-year-old son Loris to death with electrical cables. Read More ..