“A Cultural History of Mansplaining”

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Here at The Atlantic.

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Report from Social Justice Feminism Conference

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I just attended the Social Justice Feminism conference sponsored by the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and inspired by Verna Williams’s and Kristen Kalsem’s Social Justice Feminism, which appeared in 2010 in the UCLA Women’s Law Journal.  Hearty thanks to the conference sponsors for putting together such an inspiring program, continuing the conversation begun as part of the New Women’s Movement Initiative.

The conference was terrific—thought-provoking, energizing—but also unsettling.  As after any good conference, I left with more questions than answers. From Patricia Hill Collins asking what it means to really study and promote intersectionality, to Dorothy Q. Thomas questioning whether one can be both a feminist and a patriot, to Linda Burnham and Barbara Phillips wondering how we as social justice feminists might make our projects relevant to the real people whose interests we hope to serve, a theme throughout the three days was how difficult it is to bridge the divide between the “academy” and the “community.”

The conference did offer inspiration in this regard.  Tracy Thomas’s identification of conservatives’ historical revision of the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ann Cammett’s  re-imagination of criminal and family law outside the paradigms of Welfare Queen and Deadbeat Dad, and Johanna Bond’s challenging of the “false promise” of gender mainstreaming all suggest that a tentative first step toward praxis might be reclaiming jurisdiction over powerful ideals like justice, patriotism, and truth.

My own presentation, with criminologist Tyler Wall from Eastern Kentucky University, suggested we might use Avery Gordon’s approach and explore the raced, classed, and gendered assumptions inherent in dominant narratives as hauntings—ghostly matters—which are deliberately or tacitly obscured in and by the dominant discourse.

The most valuable aspect of the conference was beginning to tap into the wealth of ideas that can emerge when we take time to explore interconnections among feminists from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives.  Now, to put those ideas into practice….

-Francine Banner

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The 2012 Global Gender Report

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(The text and links below are from here)

The Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, provides a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparison across regions and income groups and over time.

The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2012 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the seven years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, it finds that the majority of countries covered have made slow progress on closing gender gaps.

This year’s findings show that Iceland tops the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fourth consecutive year. Finland ranks in second position, overtaking Norway (third). Sweden remains in fourth position. Northern European countries dominate the top 10 with Ireland in the fifth position, Denmark (seventh) and Switzerland (10th). New Zealand (sixth), Philippines (eighth) and Nicaragua (ninth) complete the top 10.

The index continues to track the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national competitiveness. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women.

Download full report (PDF)
Country Highlights (PDF)
Global Gender Gap Index Data Analyser
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Judge as Judicial Midwife?: Justice on Botswana’s High Court Strikes Down Customary Law Rule Banning Female Inheritance

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Recently, a justice on Botswana’s high court struck down a Ngwaketse Customary Law rule precluding women from inheriting family homes, finding that it contravened the right to equality principle enshrined in Botswana’s constitution. Perhaps as interesting as the justice’s conclusion is the language that he used. According to Justice Dingake,  ”it is time for Botswana judges to assume the role of the ‘judicial midwives’ to assist in the birth of a new world struggling to be born – a world of equality between men and women as envisioned by the Botswana Constitution.”

“This court believes that it is its function to treat the Constitution as a living organism and to constantly sharpen it to address contemporary challenges,” said Dingake. He is of the view that it is the function of judges to keep the law alive and to make it progressive without being inhibited by those aspects of culture that are no longer relevant, to find every conceivable way of avoiding narrowness that would spell injustice.

Justice Dingake’s idea of judge as “judicial midwife” is an interesting spin on the traditional concept of judge as “judicial activist.” Advocates of strict constructionism or judicial passivism, of course, use the term judicial activist derisively to criticize judges acting as legislators. But the term judicial midwife seems to convey that the judge is instead giving life to something nascent in the Constitution but not fully expressed. The United States analogue is Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), with the Supreme Court famously finding “that the right of marital privacy is protected, as being within the protected penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights….”

The term “judicial midwife” was actually specifically used by David J. Garrow in  tribute  to Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., in which he referred to him “as the essential judicial midwife for what became the Southern black freedom struggle’s most famous protest.” It was also used by Justice Scalia in Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165 (1989), in criticizing the majority’s conclusion that a “district court can use its compulsory process to assist counsel for the plaintiff in locating nonparties to the litigation who may have similar claims, and in obtaining their consent to his prosecution of those claims.” Scalia did not see in any law any “implied authorization for courts to undertake the unheard-of role of midwifing those actions.”

-Colin Miller

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U Chicago Bio Prof Demonstrates Evolutionary Theory

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From Inside Higher Ed (here), this article about a U Chicago professor who took to Facebook to diss the appearances of his female colleagues:

Pity the attendees at last week’s annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience who thought they needed to focus on their papers and the research breakthroughs being discussed. It turns out they were also being judged — at least by one prominent scientist — on their looks. At least the female attendees were.

The scientist was Dario Maestripieri, a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology and neurobiology at the University of Chicago. He posted the following reflection about the meeting on his Facebook page:

“My impression of the Conference of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. There are thousands of people at the conference and an unusually high concentration of unattractive women. The super model types are completely absent. What is going on? Are unattractive women particularly attracted to neuroscience? Are beautiful women particularly uninterested in the brain? No offense to anyone..”

Maestripieri posted the comment on what he may have presumed was a somewhat private portion of his Facebook page. But at least one of his Facebook friends didn’t see the humor, and the post spread on Twitter and elsewhere. And the “no offense to anyone” conclusion of the post doesn’t seem to have prevented considerable offense.

The reaction has been intense online, with people tweeting comments like “Looks like Dario Maestripieri thought the #SFN conference was Paris Fashion Week” and others posting his e-mail account and or critiquing his looks.

Within the women-in-science blogosphere, many have been writing that Maestripieri’s Facebook post provides evidence of the kinds of attitudes they have long experienced, but that many men doubt.

H/T MCH.

The more things change…

-Bridget Crawford

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Posted in Feminism and Science | 1 Comment

According to CNN “New research suggests that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship.”

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Below is a sample paragraph to warn you what you are in for if you decide to read this article. No, as far as I can tell it is not intentionally satirical, which is what I was initially hoping,

The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

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“Scholarly Publishing’s Gender Gap: Women cluster in certain fields, according to a study of millions of journal articles, while men get more credit”

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From the Chron, an account of “the largest analysis ever done of academic articles by gender, reaching across hundreds of years and hundreds of fields.”:

… First they created an algorithm to label the millions of JSTOR papers by field and subfield. Then the trick was to figure out whether an author was male or female. The lab consulted data on birth names collected by the Social Security Administration. If a name was used at least 95 percent of the time for a female, they coded it female, and the same for a male. If use of the name was more ambiguous, they threw the paper out.

Of the eight million articles the group started with, it ended up analyzing two million—written by 2.7 million scholars—whose author composition was similar to the whole. Roughly half were published between 1665 and 1989, and the other half between 1990 and 2010. Included in the database are papers in the hard sciences, the social sciences, law, history, philosophy, and education. Missing from the JSTOR data are articles in engineering, English, foreign languages, and physics.

The data show that over the entire 345 years, 22 percent of all authors were female. (Even though few papers in the JSTOR archive originated in the first 100 years, the researchers still felt that examining the entire data set was worthwhile.) The data also show that women were slightly less likely than that to be first author: About 19 percent of first authors in the study were female. Women were more likely to appear as third, fourth, or fifth authors.

According to the data in just the most recent time period, it is clear that the proportion of female authors over all is rising. From 1990 to 2010, the percentage of female authors went up to 27 percent. In 2010 alone, the last year for which full figures are available, the proportion had inched up to 30 percent. “The results show us what a lot of people have been saying and many of my female colleagues have been feeling,” says Ms. Jacquet. “Things are getting better for women in academia.”

Women still are not publishing, though, in the same proportion as they are present in academe as professors. The same year that the share of female authors in the study reached 30 percent, women made up 42 percent of all full-time professors in academe and about 34 percent of all those at the most senior levels of associate and full professor, according to the American Association of University Professors.

As the proportion of female authors over all has grown, the biologists’ study found, so has the percentage of women as first authors. In fact, by 2010 about the same proportion of women were first authors as were authors in general—about 30 percent.

But those gains have not been mirrored in the last-author position, which is of particular importance in the biological sciences. According to the data, in 2010 only about 23 percent of last authors over all were female. In molecular and cell biology, women represented almost 30 percent of authorships from 1990 to 2010, but only 16.5 percent of last authors. And over that same time period in ecology and evolution, women represented nearly 23 percent of authors but only 18.5 percent of last authors. …

See also.

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“A school reveals it has a “Fantasy Slut League””

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An excerpt just won’t do this article justice. Read the entire piece here.

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“The War on Twelve Year Old Girls”

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Subtitled: “An epidemic of high-profile trolling is a testament to how pathological misogyny is — and how early it begins,” you can read the entire piece by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.

…. And if you require any further proof, read Soraya Chemaly’s nausea-inducing Huffington Post piece on “The 12-Year-Old Slut Meme and Facebook’s Misogyny Problem.” In it, she takes on Facebook’s famously blind eye to pages that intimidate and exploit underage girls, notably the “12-Year-Old Slut Memes” page that’s so chock-full of hilarity about pubes and virginity that it gives new meaning to the word “gag.” It’s the brainchild of two self-described 19-year-old males, and to get a sense of the tone, consider a post from last month declaring “Fuck all you people that had a cry and reported us because we put your slutty fucking photos up, got fucking banned from facebook for a while you cunts, had to make a new account. If you post slutty fucking shit on facebook expect your photo to end up on here, then tagged in, then ripped to shreds by 120 thousand people. Chaos will continue. Go die.” There you go, girls. Doesn’t get clearer than “go die.”

What is it about young girls that’s so incendiary? That could make “Jailbait” for a time the second most popular search on Reddit, that would ever put the words “12-year-old” and “slut” together? This BS – this dehumanizing crap – can’t just be chalked up to the inherent budding attractiveness of youth and freshness. This goes way, way beyond that particular can of worms. I think it has a whole lot to do with just how deeply engrained the hatred of women is in our culture.

It’s not a coincidence that it’s right around the age of 12 that a girl begins to come to an understanding of her potential for power. Not just her sexual power. But her intellectual and physical mettle as well. She’s still very much a child – a child in need of support and protection – but early adolescence is the beginning of a girl coming into her own as an independent person. With a brain and a body she’s going to control. How terrifying that is for the hateful, misogynistic jerks of the world. (And I’m not letting sabotaging, self-hating females off the hook here for their bullying and divisiveness either; they’re a huge part of the problem too.) They pick on girls because it’s easier than dealing with adult women; that’s how weak they are.

I look at my own 12-year-old daughter and I see so much possibility in her. So much strength and wisdom and beauty. And some days, I feel like apologizing to her for everything on the Internet that doesn’t involve tiny pigs. I wish I could write off the likes of Michael Brutsch as one isolated, disturbed individual. And he’s exceptional; a king among trolls, to be sure. But he exists because there is a strong and vocal community of little creeps who are simultaneously aroused and hateful and scared to death of everything that a young girl represents. Who look at her and feel so bad about their own pathetic selves they want nothing more than to tear her down and make her feel ever worse about herself. My dear daughter, I am so sorry these morons are out there, and that you and your friends are in their cross hairs. That they don’t see you as a person but a threat. …

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and Culture, If you're a woman, Masculinity, Pornography's Harms, Sexism in the Media, Sexual Harassment, The Overrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Major Steps Backwards for Women in the Law – I Don’t Have More Than a Lifetime to Wait – Do You?

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Over the last six months there have been a number of disturbing studies and reports issued documenting that women are losing ground in our strides towards equality in the legal profession.

The National Law Journal reported this past week about the declining number of women law students who serve as editor-in-chief of the flagship law reviews at ABA-accredited law schools.  The report, which can be accessed here,  followed up on an initial Gender Diversity Report by Ms. JD and was conducted in collaboration with New York Law School.

The Women on Law Review report is distressing – the number of women editors in chief in 2011-2012 was 28.6%, down 5% from the last study for the period of 2008-2010.  Researchers are now asking, with the widening gap in gender equity on law review leadership, how this correlates to the low numbers of women on the state and federal benches.  In fact the Center for Women on Government and Civil Society released a report earlier this year (here) which notes that women occupy only 27.1% of seat on the bench (and this is a slight increase of .5% over last year).

This month the ABA Journal reports (here) that  a lack of growth opportunities for women in law firms may be responsible for the decrease in enrollment of female students in law schools.  The article recounts how in 1993 women accounted for 50% of entering law students, and two decades later the number is down to a national average of 46.8%, but it is as low as 40% at some schools.

In September of this year, the ABA Commission on Women in Legal Profession released their annual, “A Current Glance at Women in the Law,” which confirms the low percentages of women in positions of leadership within all categories of the profession.

What is even more distressing is Catalyst’s July 2012 data on Women in the Law in the U.S. which reveals  significant gender gaps and posits that given the (slow) rate of change, it will take more than a woman lawyer’s lifetime to achieve equality.

We don’t have more than a lifetime to wait, and we need to wake up before the work of those who came before us is unraveled even more.

-Patricia Salkin

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Posted in Legal Profession | 2 Comments

“Life Story” Interpreted by Lynne Wintersteller

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  I love Lynne Wintersteller’s interpretation of “Life Story” from the Maltby-Shire Closer than Ever.   It is an especially beautiful song and a beautiful version.

-Bridget Crawford

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“‘Gender Gap’ Near Historic Highs”

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NYT article by that title here. Below is an excerpt:

The biggest gender gap to date in the exit polls came in 2000, when Al Gore won by 11 points among women, but George W. Bush won by 9 points among men — a 20-point difference. The numbers this year look very close to that.

Since the first presidential debate in Denver, there have been 10 high-quality national polls that reported a breakout of results between men and women. (I define a “high-quality” poll as one that used live telephone interviews, and which called both landlines and cellphones. These polls will collect the most representative samples and should provide for the most reliable benchmarks of demographic trends.)

The results in the polls were varied, with the gender gap ranging from 33 points (in a Zogby telephone poll for the Washington Times) to just 8 (in polls by Pew Research and by The Washington Post). On average, however, there was an 18-point gender gap, with Mr. Obama leading by an average of 9 points among women but trailing by 9 points among men.

Nice feminist analysis of problematic aspects of this article here.

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Corbin on “The Contraception Mandate”

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Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her essay The Contraception Mandate, Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol. 106, Forthcoming.  Here is the abstract:

Under the new health care regime, health insurance plans must cover contraception. While religious employers are exempt from this requirement, religiously affiliated employers are not. Several have sued, claiming that the “contraception mandate” violates the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This essay explains why the contraception mandate violates none of them.

The full essay is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Binders Full of Asshats

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Historiann has the best binders analysis anywhere.

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UNLV’s Boyd School of Law needs a new Dean.

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Nancy Rapoport explains why it is a great opportunity here.

Or, consider this opening:

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS—WILLIAM S. BOYD SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications for a faculty position teaching Legal Writing, to begin August 1, 2013.  Responsibilities include teaching in a three-semester program that enjoys strong faculty support, carries nine credit hours and is fully graded.  The Legal Writing website will supply more information about the program: http://law.unlv.edu/lawyering-process-program.html.
Candidates must have earned a JD from an ABA-accredited law school or an equivalent degree.  Applicants will be considered at the contract, tenure-track or tenured professor level.  Salary will be competitive, based on experience. 
The Boyd School of Law is now building on its record of success during its first decade as the public law school of Nevada. We have a diverse faculty of new and experienced legal educators drawn from top institutions, and we seek colleagues who share our enthusiasm for legal education and scholarship. The School of Law has 477 students enrolled (347 full-time, 130 part-time) and 44 full-time faculty, and enjoys state-of-the-art facilities at the center of the UNLV campus. For more information on the Boyd School of Law, please refer to our website at www.law.unlv.edu.
UNLV is a premier metropolitan research university with 27,000 students and more than 1000 full-time faculty. UNLV is Nevada’s largest comprehensive doctoral degree granting institution. It provides traditional and professional academic programs for a diverse student body and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, learning, and scholarship. For more information on the University, please refer to www.unlv.edu.
Applicants should submit a letter of interest, along with a detailed resume, three professional references, and copies of any published works.
Contact:  Professor Ruben J. Garcia, Chair, Appointments Committee, UNLV, William S. Boyd School of Law, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 451003, Las Vegas, NV  89154-1003, or ruben.garcia@unlv.edu.
For more information on the Boyd School of Law, please refer to our website at http://www.law.unlv.edu/.  For more information on the University, please refer to the UNLV website at http://www.unlv.edu.
 UNLV is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity educator and employer committed to excellence through diversity.
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“Why Are There So Few Female Plutocrats?”

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That is a question asked in this column that also serves as its title, which is a teaser for a book by the same name:

Not too many people talk about the absence of women at the very top. That’s partly because, in a fight that’s been going on since the famous debates between Lenin and Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai, the left has a history of bullying women who dare to talk about gender at the apex of power. Doing so has been framed as a selfish concern of upper-class women, who are urged to focus their attention on the more deserving problems of their sisters at the bottom. As for the right, it has historically preferred to avoid discussion of gender and class altogether.

But the absence of women in the plutocracy is an important part of the culture of the 1 percent and a crucial way the very rich differ from everyone else. It is a powerful force in the workplace, where most plutocrats have no female peers. And it shapes their personal lives as well. The year 2009 was a watershed for the American workplace—it was the first time since data was collected that women outnumbered men on the country’s payrolls. In 2010, about four in 10 working wives were the chief breadwinners for their families.

The plutocracy, by contrast, still lives in the Mad Men era, and family life becomes more patriarchal the richer you get. In 2005, just over a quarter of taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent had a working spouse. For the 1 percent, the figure was higher, at 38 percent, but significantly lower than in the country as a whole.

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“Bad Feminist” By Roxane Gay

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Here. Below in an excerpt:

There’s also this: lately, magazines have been telling me there’s something wrong with feminism or women trying to achieve a work/life balance or just women in general. The Atlantic has led the way in these lamentations. In the aforementioned June 2012 article, Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, wrote a searing polemic about “1 percent wives,” who are hurting feminism and the progress of women by choosing to stay at home rather than enter the workplace. Wurtzel begins the essay provocatively:

“When my mind gets stuck on everything that is wrong with feminism, it brings out the nineteenth century poet in me: Let me count the ways. Most of all, feminism is pretty much a nice girl who really, really wants so badly to be liked by everybody—ladies who lunch, men who hate women, all the morons who demand choice and don’t understand responsibility—that it has become the easy lay of social movements.”

There are problems with feminism, you see. Wurtzel says so, and she is vigorous in defending her position. Wurtzel goes on to state there is only one kind of equality, economic equality, and until women recognize that and enter the workforce en masse, feminists, and wealthy feminists in particular, will continue to fail. They will continue to be bad feminists, falling short of essential ideals of this movement.

The very next issue of the Atlantic included Anne-Marie Slaughter writing 12,000 words about the struggles of powerful, successful women to “have it all.” She was speaking to a small, elite group of women—wealthy women with very successful careers—while ignoring the millions of women who don’t have the privilege of, as Slaughter did, leaving a high-powered position at the State Department to spend more time with her sons. Many women who work do so because they have to. Working has little to do with having it all and much more to do with having food on the table.

Slaughter wrote, “I’d been the woman congratulating herself on her unswerving commitment to the feminist cause, chatting smugly with her dwindling number of college or law-school friends who had reached and maintained their place on the highest rungs of their profession. I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in.”

The thing is, I am not at all sure that feminism has ever suggested women can have it all. This notion of being able to have it all is always misattributed to feminism when really it’s human nature to want it all.

Alas, poor feminism. So much responsibility keeps getting piled on the shoulders of a movement whose primary purpose is to achieve equality, in all realms, between men and women. I keep reading these articles and getting angry and tired because these articles tell me that there’s no way for women to ever get it right. These articles make it seem like there is, in fact, a right way to be a woman and a wrong way to be a woman. And the standard appears to be ever changing and unachievable.

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“What Is Feminism?” by Jane Smiley

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At the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Academic Men Explain Things To Me

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Here.

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“Amanda Todd’s Story: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self Harm #RIPAmandaTodd”

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Watch this video and think about what this girl went through.

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eRape?: Should Courts Allow Rape Defendants to Discover the Google Searches of Their Victims?

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Jennifer Bennett was beaten, choked, and raped by Thomas Bray at his condo. (Here is the Today Show video on her story) Upon returning to her home, “[s]he stood at the entrance to her bathroom for 15 minutes, fighting the urge to scrub her body clean.”

“I had a decision to make: ‘Do I take a shower?’” Bennett recalled. “I stared at my shower. And I decided not to do it.”

Bennett decided against the shower, instead subjecting herself to a rape exam at the St. Charles Medical Center and questioning by police.

Later, Bennett faced another choice, an unprecedented choice for a crime victim in Oregon: whether to turn over her Google searches from the days before and after her rape. The judge ordered her to comply with a subpoena requiring her to disclose her searches. She refused. The judge then refused to enforce the subpoena. Eventually, Bray was convicted.

According to Bennett, by refusing to comply with the subpoena, she was making a stand on behalf of not only herself but all future rape victims. But will such stands be recognized in a world in which we increasingly live our lives online?

Continue reading

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Posted in Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

“Polanski’s victim is not a “sex scandal teen””

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That is the title of this awesome post at Salon. Below is an excerpt:

Samantha Geimer was 13 years old when she had her fateful encounter with Polanski in 1977. The California age of consent at the time was 16. We could stop right there and say this therefore is not a “teen sex” story; this is a story with an absence of consent, and we could wrap it for the day and be done with this ridiculous, tawdry, false narrative. But let’s press on.

Let’s note that according to the grand jury testimony, Geimer wasn’t some coy Lolita in all of this, looking to hang Polanski out to dry on the age technicality. Go read the police officer’s account of the vaginal and anal slides taken of Geimer, the narcotics analyst’s description of the Quaaludes found at the scene, read about the semen on her clothes. Read her account of how Polanski took topless photos of her. Gave her Champagne. Split a Quaalude with her. Read how she said, “I was ready to cry … I was going, ‘No. Come on. Stop it.’ But I was afraid.” Read how she says he had intercourse with her, demanding to know if she was on the pill, and how when she said she wasn’t, he told her, “Oh, I won’t come inside you then,” and then he sodomized her. Read how, when asked in her testimony if she “resisted,” the then-13-year-old replied, “A little bit, but not really because … because I was afraid of him.” And then when you’re finished taking all of that in, I’ll come back and remind you that the man pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. He pleaded guilty. Now, who’d like to go back and take a crack at rewriting some headlines?

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“Despite a cease-and-desist letter, Shautsova surmised that Primal Ventures, the host of escortsexguide.com, would not delete the [false] profile because it makes money whenever someone clicks on it.”

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That is a sentence pulled from this article, which tells yet another story of someone using the internet to inflict misery on a former romantic partner.

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“Girls’s Costume Warehouse”

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A classic that is still relevant and hilarious (and maybe NSFW depending on your employer’s views about cussing):

For some feminist commentary on this phenomenon go here.

–Ann Bartow

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“Women in China Face Rising University Entry Barriers”

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Some of the parallels with the United States are stunning. This NYT article provides an overview of “a growing trend in Chinese universities in which women increasingly must score higher than men to get in and face unofficial but widespread gender quotas that favor men.”

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“Sorry, Plus-Size Women: You’re Too Fat To Dress As Fat Disney Character For Halloween”

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Go to this post at The Consumerist to read a post that begins:

I always loved Disney villain Ursula, the portly six-legged sea-witch who swaps the Litte Mermaid’s tail for a pair of legs in return for her lovely singing voice. And you’d think that dressing up as Ursula, or as the inevitable “sexy” Halloween version of Ursula, would be an option for women who are actually shaped like the character. Nope, not so fast!

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Interview with cartoonist Cathy Guisewite

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Here.

“Cathy was the first widely syndicated humor strip created by a woman. The strip was pretty revolutionary at the time not only because it starred a female, but also because it was so emotionally honest about all the conflicting feelings many women had in 1976.”

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The TV Anchor and the Critic

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At Findlaw, find a discussion of tv anchor Jennifer Livingston’s allegations that attorney (well, now there seems to be some question about whether he’s an attorney or a security guard) and fitness advocate Kenneth Krause bullied her via an email in which he told her in part:

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Findlaw commentator, Deanne Katz, asks whether what Mr. Krause wrote rises to the level of cyberbullying, the claim that Ms. Livingston raises in her response to Mr. Krause’s email criticisms.

Ms. Livingston’s husband Mark Thompson, an anchor at the same station, WBKT in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has defended her, as has the station. She has also responded in this video, available via this Forbes article and via other sites. She says in part,

The truth is I am overweight. You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside–and I am much more than a number on a scale….

To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience, that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.

She has appeared on several network morning shows to discuss the effect of Mr. Krause’s communication on her as well.

For his part, Mr. Krause remains steadfast in his opinion that Ms. Livingston should lose weight, although whether to make herself more attractive as media eye candy, to make herself a symbol to children or to make herself more healthy, or all three is unclear. He issued this statement:

Given this country’s present epidemic of obesity and the many truly horrible diseases related thereto, and considering Jennifer Livingston’s fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health and psychological well-being of Coulee Region children by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year, and, to that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice or support she would be willing to accept.

Want to see what Mr. Krause looks like? Here he is, complete with bike helmet and tattoo. He now says he “never meant to hurt” Ms. Livingston.

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Posted in Feminism and the Workplace | 1 Comment

Call for Papers: Feminist Legal Theory CRN at Law and Society 2013

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Dear friends and colleagues,

We write to invite you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in Boston, May 30 to June 2, 2013.

Information about the Law and Society meeting (including registration and hotel information) will be posted here: www.lawandsociety.org/boston2013.html.

Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform, other than that they relate to feminism in some way. We especially welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals.

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work that is well on the way to publication, we are particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and  will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.

Our panels will use the LSA format, which requires four papers, but we will continue our custom of assigning a commentator for each individual paper. A committee of the CRN will assign individual papers to panels based on subject and will ask CRN members to volunteer to serve as chairs of each panel. The chair will develop a 100-250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before the upcoming deadline in early December, so that each panelist can submit his or her proposal, using the panel number assigned. Chairs will also be responsible for recruiting commentators but may wait to do so until panels have been scheduled later this winter.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please submit a 400-500 word abstract, with your name and a title, on the Feminist Legal Theory CRN TWEN page (details provided below). If you would like to serve as a chair or a commentator for one of our panels, or if you are already planning a LSA session with four panelists (and papers) that you would like to see included in the Feminist Legal Theory CRN, please let Jennifer Hendricks know (jennifer.hendricks@colorado.edu). In addition to these panels, we may try use some of the other formats that the LSA provides: the “author meets readers” format or the roundtable discussion. “Author meets readers” sessions focus on a recently published book; commentators deliver remarks, and the author responds. Roundtables are discussions that are not organized around papers, but rather invite several speakers to have an exchange focused on a specific topic. If you have an idea relating to feminist legal theory that you think would work well in one of these formats, please let Jennifer know, as well.

TWEN is an online resource administered by Westlaw. If you have access to Westlaw but haven’t yet registered for the TWEN page, signing up is easy:

If you have Westlaw OnePass as a faculty member, follow this link:

http://lawschool.westlaw.com/shared/courselink.asp?course=113601&lID=4%3D2, then click on the link to the Feminist Legal Theory CRN TWEN page.

Or, sign onto Westlaw, hit the tab on the top for “TWEN,” then click “Add Course,” and choose the “Feminist Legal Theory” CRN from the drop-down list of National TWEN Courses.

If you do not have a Westlaw password, please email Jennifer Hendricks (jennifer.hendricks@colorado.edu) and ask to be enrolled directly.

Once you arrive at the Feminist Legal Theory CRN TWEN page, look to the left hand margin and click on “Law and Society 2013 – Abstracts.”

Please submit all proposals for paper presentations by Monday, October 29, 2012. This will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline in early December. If we cannot accept all proposals for the CRN, we will notify you by November 15 so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.

We hope you’ll join us in Boston to discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on feminism and gender.

Best,

Beth Burkstrand-Reid

Aya Gruber

Jennifer Hendricks

Linda McClain

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The Kiss Was Forced On Her

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Check out “The Kissing Sailor, or “The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture” at Crates and Ribbons. It explains that in the famous photo below, the sailor was a stranger to the nurse, and he forced himself on her. That’s not a loving embrace he has her in at all, even though that’s what people have been seeing for decades.

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One of the original “Chiquita Banana” commercials

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So much going on here! Courtesy of an awesome college student.

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“Court: Child Porn Victims Can Get Restitution”

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From the NYT:

Child pornography victims can recover money from people convicted of viewing their abuse without having to show a link between the crime and their injuries, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The decision conflicts with rulings by several other federal circuits, possibly setting the stage for a Supreme Court challenge. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a woman, identified as “Amy” in court documents, was entitled to restitution from Texas resident Doyle Randall Paroline and New Orleans resident Michael Wright, both of whom pleaded guilty in separate cases to possessing child pornography that included images of Amy.

Amy sought more than $3.3 million from Paroline to cover the cost of her lost income, attorneys’ fees and psychological care. A federal judge rejected her request. Amy also sought more than $3.3 million from Wright, who had images of Amy and at least 20 other identifiable children stored on his computer. A federal judge ruled Wright owed Amy more than $500,000.

Wright argued he didn’t owe Amy any restitution because he didn’t obtain the images until years after she was abused. He also said there wasn’t any evidence that she knew he personally viewed the images.

Amy, now her early 20s and living in Pennsylvania, was a child when her uncle sexually abused her and widely circulated images of the abuse, according to court records. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it has found at least 35,000 images of Amy’s abuse in more than 3,200 child pornography cases since 1998.

In at least 174 cases, Amy has been awarded restitution in amounts ranging from $100 to more than $3.5 million. James Marsh, one of her attorneys, said in January that she had collected more than $1.5 million. Marsh said Amy’s attorneys always believed the restitution law was “fairly direct, simple and unambiguous.”

“Congress’ intent has finally been recognized by the bold and decisive decision,” he wrote in an email. “For Amy and the countless victims of this horrible crime, today is the day when the legal system finally delivered justice.”

Nine of the 15 judges joined in the majority opinion written by Judge Emilio Garza. The opinion said a federal statute dictates that a child pornography victim be awarded restitution for the full amount of their losses in each defendant’s case.

“Fears over excessive punishment are misplaced,” Garza wrote. “… Ultimately, while the imposition of full restitution may appear harsh, it is not grossly disproportionate to the crime of receiving and possessing child pornography.” …

(Emphasis added.)

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“IKEA Regrets Women Erased From Saudi Catalog”

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Compare the annual IKEA catalogs disbursed around the world and they are nearly identical, save for a slight difference.

The difference is not in the Swedish translations of the furniture or the mock layouts of the numerous living rooms in the catalog. The discrepancy lies in the people who are portrayed in the company’s catalog enjoying themselves in and around the IKEA furniture.

Saudi Arabia’s IKEA catalog does not include women in the scenes.

In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive cars but can vote as of last year.

One of the most obvious examples is a page in the IKEA catalog, published in Sweden and disbursed around the world, where there is a women standing beside a young boy in a bathroom.

However, in the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog, the young woman has disappeared and the boy is standing alone.

“We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog is in conflict with the IKEA Group values,” the company said in a statement this morning.

On IKEA’s Saudi Arabian website, the catalog is available to be downloaded in Arabic. The catalog solely showcases men and young children. Women are completely excluded from the photos. …

From ABCNews/Yahoo News.

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“In fact, many European researchers say the test of a mature bike-sharing program is when women outnumber men. In the Netherlands, 52 percent of riders are women. Instead of promoting helmet use, European cycling advocates say, cities should be setting up safer bike lanes to slow traffic or divert it entirely from downtown areas. “Riding in New York or Australia is like running with the bulls — it’s all young males,” says Julian Ferguson, a spokesman for the European Cyclists’ Federation. And that’s in part what makes it dangerous.”

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That is an excerpt from this article, which criticizes mandatory bike helmet laws.

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Read Kristof’s NYT Column Today If You Haven’t

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Here. Below is an excerpt:

…So bravo to the president for giving a major speech on human trafficking and, crucially, for promising greater resources to fight pimps and support those who escape the streets. Until recently, the Obama White House hasn’t shown strong leadership on human trafficking, but this could be a breakthrough. The test will be whether Obama continues to press the issue.

I’ve been passionate about human trafficking ever since I encountered a village in Cambodia 15 years ago where young girls were locked up, terrified, as their virginity was sold to the highest bidder. It felt just like 19th-century slavery, except that these girls would likely be dead of AIDS or something else by their 20s.

Granted, not all prostitution is coerced. Reasonable people can disagree about what to do in the case of adults who sell sex voluntarily. Put aside that disagreement, for we can agree to place priority on the millions of children and adults compelled to provide sex or other labor. …

Some portion of the people who claim to sell sex voluntarily are actually lying pimps who will not be “put aside” easily. It’s good to see Obama addressing the issue, though, and Kristof has been a voice of relative sanity on this issue for years (though I must note that what he wrote in this column about China was utterly and dangerously wrong.)

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Random charming photo of Justice Ginsburg

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From here.

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“Texas legislative panel to consider ways to help young victims of sex trafficking”

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Story here. Below is an excerpt:

As Dallas builds a locally funded treatment center to provide services for victims of sex traffickers, a state legislative committee is looking at whether Texas needs to do more to help others statewide.

Dallas police said they identify more than 100 underage girls annually who have been coerced into prostitution. Those who prostitute them face criminal charges.

But officials believe the young women need time, space and professional help to recover. Dallas broke ground this month for the Letot Girls’ Center, which will provide residential treatment for as many as 96 victims a year.

There are no similar programs at the state level, but the Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking is looking at possible changes in state law and programs to help victims. The committee meets Tuesday in Houston to hear from nonprofit groups, cities and counties about their programs and unmet needs.

Sex trafficking has been reported statewide. A recent state attorney general’s report, while acknowledging difficulty identifying victims and a lack of standardized reporting, confirmed 369 cases over four years. More than 95 percent of those were pushed to enter prostitution.

The interim committee is studying how to provide better services for trafficking victims and modify laws to better reflect their needs.

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Maybe the prosecution of Dharun Ravi has had a lasting effect on privacy law?

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Today the NY Daily News ran an article entitled: “Princeton University student accused of taking sexually explicit photos of fellow male student who was asleep in dorm room is charged with invasion of privacy.” The first paragraph reports:

A Princeton University student accused of taking sexually explicit photos of a fellow male student who had fallen asleep in a dorm room has been charged with invasion of privacy in a case that echoes those at two other New Jersey campuses involving dorm room interactions and cameras.

In addition to Dharun Ravi’s conviction for invasion of privacy (along with bias intimidation) for using a webcam to spy on Tyler Clementi, the article makes reference “to student Minjin Oh plead[ing] guilty to making unwanted sexual contact with his sleeping roommate and capturing video of what happened on his cellphone.” That incident is more fully reported here. I am not sure what if anything to conclude about the fact that the victims and perpetrators in these three events are all male.

–Ann Bartow

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Staten Island Borough President Calls Lady Gaga a ‘Slut,’ Manhattan Borough President Defends Her, Pace Law Professor Wishes Politicians Would Simply Leave Artist Alone

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Brief news account of slut calling by James Molinaro here. Response by Scott Stringer here. The Pace Law Professor who wishes both of them would focus on making NYC a better place for all citizens and let Lady Gaga get on with her performance art would of course be me.

–Ann Bartow

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Suit Against Maine Public School Alleges Discrimination Against Transgender Student

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From the Bangor (Maine) Daily News:

A Superior Court judge will decide whether a lawsuit filed by an Orono couple over the local school district’s handling of their transgender child’s transition from male to female will go forward.

A transgender person is born one biological sex but identifies himself or herself as belonging to the opposite gender.

Justice William Anderson heard oral arguments on motions for summary judgments Wednesday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center. His questions for attorneys centered on whether the school district broke the law in 2007 when it stopped letting the child use the girls bathroom and had her use a staff bathroom after the grandfather and legal guardian of a male classmate complained.

“This is a close case,” Anderson said at the end of the hourlong hearing. “It’s a very interesting case and a very important case.”

It is the first case in Maine to address a transgender student’s right to use the bathroom of the gender with which he or she identifies.

There is no timetable under which the judge must issue his decision, but Anderson said at the end of Wednesday’s hearing that it would be “fairly quickly.” The case tentatively is scheduled to go to trial in November or December. The plaintiffs have asked for a jury-waived trial.

The child’s parents — on her behalf, along with the Maine Human Rights Commission — sued the district in November 2009 in Penobscot County Superior Court over her access to the girls bathroom and the school’s treatment of her. The lawsuit was filed five months after the commission found the school had discriminated against the girl.

Read the full article here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Call for Papers – Comparative Sex Regimes and Corporate Boards

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CALL FOR PAPERS

Comparative Sex Regimes and Corporate Boards

Pace International Law Review Symposium – Pace Law School

Pace Law School – February 8, 2013

 Pace Law School will host a symposium on quotas for gender equality on corporate boards on February 8th, 2013.  Throughout Europe, countries are following the lead of Norway in adopting quotas for women’s representation on corporate boards.  This move represents a major shift in corporate governance norms and in efforts to attain sex equality in the workplace.  Multiple disciplines, national frames and perspectives will foster a deeper understanding of these measures. Some of the questions we may explore include: Are these measures designed to achieve good governance, women’s empowerment, or gender balance?  Are quotas an effective tool to realize those objectives?  If not, how might boards circumnavigate around them?  What are possible unintended consquences of quotas?  Will corporate governance change once capital has been (partly) feminized?  Is the French differentiation between diversity and mixité (gender diversity) relevant?   This Symposium will bring together thinkers for a variety of disciplines and perspectives to analyze and comprehend the meaning and impact of such quotas.  This interaction, it is hoped, will foster broader collective and individual analysis and knowledge production on the phenomenon of corporate board quotas.

Pace Law School has reserved one space on the symposium schedule for proposed papers.  Those not chosen to present may be invited to publish in the symposium volume.  Interested contributors should submit abstracts (of up to two pages) for essays or full papers.  Manuscripts will be accepted on a rolling basis; however, the final deadline for submissions is October 15, 2012.   In the subject line of your email, please type: CFP Conference Submission.  Your abstract must contain your full contact information.    Practitioners’ and activists’ papers need not follow a strictly academic format, but all paper proposals should address the conference theme.  Interested student scholars are welcome. We will notify presenters of selected papers by mid-November.  A working draft of the paper will be due no later than February 1, 2013.  In addition, the Pace International Law Review will publish the articles and essays presented at the symposium.  We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, or to submit a proposal, please contact Prof. Darren Rosenblum at drosenblum@law.pace.edu.

 Confirmed participants include: Dan Danielsen (Northeastern), Amy Dittmar (Michigan), Kim Krawiec (Duke), Kellye Testy (U. Washington), Tom Tyler (Yale) and Cheryl Wade (St. John’s).

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Yxta Maya Murray on “Anglo-American Radical Feminism’s Constitutionalism in the Streets”

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Yxta Maya Murray has posted to SSRN her article ‘Creating New Categories’: Anglo-American Radical Feminism’s Constitutionalism in the Streets, 9 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 454 (2012).  Here is the abstract:

In 1968 and 1970, U.S. and British radical feminists organized provocative protests at the Miss America and Miss World beauty pageants. While the American New York Radical Women expressed their outrage at women’s objectification by picketing, engaging in street theater antics, and organizing a brief if peaceable outburst, British feminists raised a panic in London by throwing flour bombs and rotten produce at audience members and celebrity MC’s, scattering plastic mice, spraying ink-filled squirt guns, and even snubbing out a cigarette on a policeman.

Why were the U.S. radical feminists so much more decorous than their British sisters? In this article, I analyze how each of these radical feminist camps employed the strategies of outrage, law-breaking, and violence, noting that U.S. beauty pageant protesters were outrageous, but avoided the scandalous scofflawing and aggression of the London rebels. Investigating the historical and contemporary political worlds in which these two revolutionary groups worked, I show that U.S. and British attitudes toward law-breaking and violence were shaped by their native, early 20th century histories of feminism, as well as the American and European tumults and tragedies that characterized the age.

Drawing on the work of Reva Siegel, Jack M. Balkin, and Lynda G. Dodd, I will then consider how the U.S. and British protesters influenced their countries’ respective constitutional cultures and future feminist legal theories. Each camp’s approach to outrage, law-breaking, and violence in street protest would later be felt in successes and failures on the constitutional front, and also resound in a law-faithful U.S. feminism that differs significantly from its skeptical, anti-authoritarian British complement.

The full article is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

 

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Francine Banner on “Judicial Review of Intra-Military Sexual Assault Claims”

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Francine Banner (Phoenix) has posted to SSRN her article, Immoral Waiver: Judicial Review of Intra-Military Sexual Assault Claims, Lewis & Clark L. Rev. (forthcoming 2013).  Here is the abstract:

This essay critiques the application of the Feres doctrine and the policy of judicial deference to military affairs in the context of recent class actions against government and military officials for constitutional violations stemming from sexual assaults in the U.S. military. The Pentagon estimates that 19,000 military sexual assaults occur each year. Yet, in 2011, fewer than two hundred persons were convicted of crimes of sexual violence. In the face of such pervasive and longstanding constitutional violations, this essay argues that the balance of harms weighs heavily in favor of judicial intervention. The piece discusses why, from both legal and justice-based perspectives, the Feres principles are inapplicable to claims of intra-military sexual assault. Further, the essay argues that judicial decisions invalidating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy provide a roadmap for the judiciary in assessing both its proper role in respect of the contemporary armed forces and the institutional obligation to resolve the claims of exceptionally deserving plaintiffs.

The full piece is available here.

Readers also might be interested in Professor Banner’s “It’s Not All Flowers and Daisies”: Masculinity, Heteronormativity and the Obscuring of Lesbian Identity in the Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 24 Yale J. L. & Feminism 61 (2012).

-Bridget Crawford

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Iranian Women Now Barred From Numerous College Majors Including Engineering, Nuclear Physics, Computer Science, English Literature, Archaeology and Business.

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From the BBC News:

More than 30 universities have introduced new rules banning female students from almost 80 different degree courses.

These include a bewildering variety of subjects from engineering, nuclear physics and computer science, to English literature, archaeology and business.

No official reason has been given for the move, but campaigners, including Nobel Prize winning lawyer Shirin Ebadi, allege it is part of a deliberate policy by the authorities to exclude women from education.

“The Iranian government is using various initiatives… to restrict women’s access to education, to stop them being active in society, and to return them to the home,” she told the BBC.

Higher Education Minister Kamran Daneshjoo has sought to play down the situation, stressing Iran’s strong track record in getting young people into higher education and saying that despite the changes, 90% of university courses are still open to both men and women.
Men outnumbered

Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to allow women to study at university and since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 it has made big efforts to encourage more girls to enrol in higher education.

The gap between the numbers of male and female students has gradually narrowed. In 2001 women outnumbered men for the first time and they now make up more than 60% of the overall student body. …

The article suggests political activism by women has alarmed conservatives in power in Iran, and concludes:

… It is not yet clear exactly how many women students have been affected by the new rules on university entrance. But as the new academic year begins, at least some have had to completely rethink their career plans.

“From the age of 16 I knew I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, and I really worked hard for it,” says Noushin from Esfahan. “But although I got high marks in the National University entrance exam, I’ve ended up with a place to study art and design instead.”

Over the coming months campaigners will be watching closely to track the effects of the policy and to try to gauge the longer-term implications.

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Correction to Chelsea Clinton’s Vogue Profile

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From here!

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Ever wonder how the USDOJ defines stalking?

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According to this site:

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking can include:

Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.

Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.

Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.

Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.

Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.

Harassing victim through the internet.

Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and Culture, Women's Health | 1 Comment

“Creepshots and revenge porn: how paparazzi culture affects women”

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That’s the title of this article. Below is an excerpt:

… Charlotte Laws first encountered these sites in January this year, after her daughter Kayla, who is in her mid-20s, had her computer hacked. In Kayla’s email account was one topless photo she had taken of herself – it hadn’t been shared with anyone – which was then posted on a notorious revenge porn site, Is Anyone Up. She was distraught, and Charlotte, an author and former private investigator, spent 11 days, non-stop, working to get the picture taken down. One of the nastiest aspects of the site, which has since closed, was that humiliating photographs would be posted alongside details of the person’s social media accounts, so they were immediately identifiable.

Laws wanted to find out more about the experiences of those whose images ended up on the site, so began an informal study. She called 40 people – a few men, but mainly women, reflecting the site’s make-up – and says that 40% had had accounts hacked, while others were victims of vengeful exes. She spoke to three teachers, one of whom had lost her job due to the site, and another whose job hung in the balance. One woman was terrified the photos would be used against her in a custody battle. Another had seen her business ruined – even though the nude images the site ran alongside her social media profiles weren’t actually of her. There was a woman who had taken pictures for her doctor, of her breasts bandaged after surgery, and those had been hacked from her computer and posted. All the pictures were open to biting discussion of looks and desirability.

Laws has been researching possible legal routes for victims of such sites, which has brought her into contact with Mary Anne Franks, associate professor of law at the University of Miami. “What unites creepshots, the Middleton photographs, the revenge porn websites,” says Franks, “is that they all feature the same fetishisation of non-consensual sexual activity with women who either you don’t have any access to, or have been denied future access to. And it’s really this product of rage and entitlement.”

Franks finds it interesting that the response to these situations is so often to blame the woman involved. Ali Sargent, a 19-year-old student and activist, says in her school years there were a few incidents of girls being filmed in sexual situations, without their knowledge or consent, and the attitude of other girls was dismissive at best – displaying that dearth of sympathy that distances people from the thought that it could ever happen to them. “It was mostly just, ‘well, she was pretty stupid,’” says Sargent.

Franks echoes this. She says the argument goes: “‘You shouldn’t have given those pictures to that person’, or ‘You shouldn’t have been sunbathing in a private residence’, or ‘You should never, as a woman, take off your clothes in any context where anybody could possibly ever have a camera’. That’s been shocking to me, that people aren’t just outraged and furious about this, but they’re actually making excuses for this behaviour, and blaming women for ever being sexual any time, at all.

“Even in a completely private setting, within a marriage – it couldn’t be any more innocuous than the Middleton situation – and yet people are still saying things like: what was she expecting, she’s famous and she’s got breasts, and therefore she’s got to keep them covered up all the time. I do think it’s a rage against women being sexual on their own terms. We’re perfectly fine with women being sexual, as long as they are objects and they’re passive, and we can turn them on, turn them off, download them, delete them, whatever it is. But as soon as it’s women who want to have any kind of exclusionary rights about their intimacy, we hate that. We say, ‘No, we’re going to make a whore out of you’.”

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Parenting can be so complicated.

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From toothpastefordinner.com.

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To test scientist’s reactions to men and women with precisely equal qualifications, the researchers did a randomized double-blind study in which academic scientists were given application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position. The substance of the applications were all identical, but sometimes a male name was attached, and sometimes a female name. Results: female applicants were rated lower than men on the measured scales of competence, hireability, and mentoring (whether the scientist would be willing to mentor this student). Both male and female scientists rated the female applicants lower.

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From Discover, where Sean Carroll writes:

Nobody who is familiar with the literature on this will be surprised, but it’s good to accumulate new evidence and also to keep the issue in the public eye: academic scientists are, on average, biased against women. I know it’s fun to change the subject and talk about bell curves and intrinsic ability, but hopefully we can all agree that people with the same ability should be treated equally. And they are not.

That’s the conclusion of a new study in PNAS by Corinne Moss-Racusin and collaborators at Yale. …

…This lurking bias has clear real-world implications. When asked what kind of starting salaries they might be willing to offer the applicants, the ones offered to women were lower.

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Breastfeeding and the Law

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According to the NCSL:

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.)

Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia.)

Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont.)

In addition: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Learn more here.

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Posted in Feminism and Families, Feminism and Law, Women's Health | Comments Off