Watch this video and think about what this girl went through.
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?
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?
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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!
“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.”
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 (email@example.com) 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.
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.
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.” …
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. …
“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.”
That is an excerpt from this article, which criticizes mandatory bike helmet laws.
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.)
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.
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.
Staten Island Borough President Calls Lady Gaga a ‘Slut,’ Manhattan Borough President Defends Her, Pace Law Professor Wishes Politicians Would Simply Leave Artist Alone
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
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.
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).
Iranian Women Now Barred From Numerous College Majors Including Engineering, Nuclear Physics, Computer Science, English Literature, Archaeology and Business.
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.
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.
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.
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’.”
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.
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.
…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.
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.
That is the title of this Slate article, which notes:
… Several hundred writers and fans had descended upon The Mount, Edith Wharton’s country house in Lenox, Mass., to celebrate the author’s 150th birthday with three days of panels and readings. The weather was crisp and clear, and everyone milled about the house and grounds uninhibitedly, as if Wharton herself had issued the invitations. Stacked here and there like so many party favors were glossy, staple-bound excerpts from Vogue’s September issue: a lavish, 18-page photo feature depicting a handful of actors, artists, models, and writers posing as Wharton and her circle lounging, couture-clad, in the very same rooms we wandered through. Shot by Annie Leibovitz and produced by Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington, with an essay by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, the feature is a gorgeous, evocative homage to the estate Wharton designed herself. It even shares the title of Wharton’s most undeservedly under-read novel, The Custom of the Country. Devotees, not to mention The Mount’s representatives, are rightly thrilled with the fantasia—but the reaction among many of the women writers in attendance was…complicated.
“Can you believe it?” novelist Roxana Robinson asked me. She had spied me in the foyer and introduced herself, and in no time at all we were on to the topic very few of us there could stop whispering about: the fact that of the three writers serving as models in the Vogue photo feature all of them are men.
There is Jeffrey Eugenides in a bowler hat doing his best Henry James. There is a bow-tied Junot Diaz as Wharton’s (unrequited) love interest, diplomat Walter Berry. There is Jonathan Safran Foer, hair severely parted down the middle, posing as Wharton’s collaborator, the architect Ogden Codman, Jr.
The grande dame herself is played by 30-year-old Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova.
Robinson and I shook our heads in that incredulous way one does when confronted with something so obviously wrong (as if women writers aren’t underrepresented enough as is!) and yet so seemingly inconsequential (oh who cares—it’s just a photo shoot) and yet so obviously wrong (as if women writers aren’t underrepresented enough as is!)…that…well, what to do? As Robinson put it, “The message of the shoot seems to be that a man can become an appropriate subject for the camera by being a professional writer. But a woman can only be an appropriate subject for the camera if she is a professional beauty. Yet any complaint sounds like whining, so it’s hard to know how to frame the discussion.” …
SEX, PREGNANCY AND ABORTION
• Between 1988 and 2006–2010, the proportion of never-married teens aged 15–17 who had ever engaged in sexual intercourse declined from 37% to 27% among females, and from 50% to 28% among males. During the same period, among teens aged 18–19, that proportion declined from 73% to 63% among females, and 77% to 64% among males.
• The majority (86%) of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 was the result of dramatic improvements in contraceptive use, including an increase in the proportion of teens using a single method of contraception, an increase in the proportion using multiple methods simultaneously and a substantial decline in nonuse. Just 14% of the decline is attributable to decreased sexual activity.
• Compared with their Canadian, English, French and Swedish peers, U.S. teens have a similar level of sexual activity, but they are more likely to have shorter and less consistent sexual relationships, and are less likely to use contraceptives, especially the pill or dual methods.
• The United States continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world (68 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2008)—more than twice that of Canada (27.9 per 1,000) or Sweden (31.4 per 1,000).
• Every year, roughly nine million new STIs occur among teens and young adults in the United States. Compared with rates among teens in Canada and Western Europe, rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia among U.S. teens are extremely high.[9, 10]
From here, where there is more information, and the data is sourced.
Persecution Complex: 3rd Circuit Finds Village Head’s Threat of Marriage or Incarceration Was Not Persecution
Substantial evidence supports the BIA’s decision. While Zhang contends that she was persecuted when the village chief attempted to coerce her into marrying his son, and that she suffered this persecution on account of her membership in a particular social group, the alleged wrongs here do not rise to the level of persecution. Li Rong Zhang v. Attorney General of U.S., 2012 WL 3715337 (3rd Cir. 2012).
As someone who is not anything close to an expert in asylum law, I can’t say that I agree with the Third Circuit’s conclusion.
Here. Below is an excerpt:
Oddly, one of the few places in her book where Wolf gets the science right — in a discussion about the physiology of a clitoral versus vaginal orgasm — quashes the universalizing claims she makes elsewhere in the book. It was a pinched pelvic nerve in Wolf’s spine that apparently prevented her from experiencing vaginal orgasms and a surgical cure of the problem that inspired the book. She notes that her doctor told her, “Every woman is wired differently; some women’s nerves branch more in the clitoris. Some branch a great deal in the perineum, or at the mouth of the cervix. That accounts for some of the differences in female sexual response.”
Indeed, there is important new research here suggesting that, for example, that the wiring of these nerves affects the types of orgasms women have. Clitoral-focused orgasms seem to rely on one arm of the pudendal nerve, while cervical and some vaginal sensation and related orgasms are linked to the pelvic nerve. As Wolf rightly notes, this knowledge should bring comfort to women who think themselves different or psychologically immature for having the “wrong” kind of orgasm.
Again, however, there is more complexity to the female orgasm than the author conveys. For one, as she does mention, new anatomical data suggests that the clitoris, far from being located only outside the body, actually wraps around the vagina internally. Which means that it, too, can be stimulated from within. “It’s shaped like a wishbone and the tip of the wishbone is the part that is external,” says Barry Komisaruk, professor of psychology at Rutgers and a leading researcher on sexuality. “The rest of it has these two legs that straddle the vagina and during intercourse the penis can actually stretch the vagina to the point where the legs of clitoris are stimulated.” While there are distinct vaginal and clitoral orgasms experienced by many women, the two types of stimulation can also intermingle. Neither is inherently superior, nor required for conception.
The official website for The Price of Sex is here. It provides this summary:
The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.
This article reports:
… Chakarova posed as a prostitute and spent time building relationships with men who visited brothels on a regular basis. She had to trust them in order to gain access to infamous red light areas such as Aksaray. She put herself in danger but says posing as a prostitute enabled her to better understand the conditions girls endure.
Her investigation also found that many women are complicit in the trafficking.
Chakarova said: “They become pimps, madams and traffickers. The longer they have been trafficked, the more likely it is for them to become recruiters. They go back to their villages and entice young women to come with them.”
Chakarova’s project evolved from a photo project to multimedia and then to a full-length documentary. Since The Price of Sex was premiered at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival, it has been a sell-out in the US and abroad.
In addition to public screenings, the film was used by the FBI to help train police in Serbia, where trafficking is escalating.
The Price of Sex was made through a collaboration with the Centre for Investigative Reporting in California.
The film won the 2011 Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking and the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting. ….
“A planned European Union law to impose sanctions on companies that do not allocate at least 40 percent of the seats on their boards to women has drawn enough opposition from Britain and other countries to risk being blocked before it is officially proposed.”
That is the first sentence of this NYT article.
The ILS Law College, Pune, India is pleased to host the inaugural International Conference on Feminism and the Law: Revisiting the Past, Rethinking the Present and Thinking the Way Forward from February 10-12, 2012.
Here. An excerpt:
In some districts, students learn that HIV/AIDS will kill them within three years. Another district used material which defined the vagina as a “sperm deposit.” Two-thirds do not depict or label external female genitalia. In fact, much of the teaching was centered around boy’s bodies rather than girl’s bodies.
Statistics show 45 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls in New York’s high schools are sexually active, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One-third of sexually active boys don’t use condoms and 80 percent of girls don’t take birth control.
Twenty-eight percent of districts did not teach students about sexual assault or rape and 42 percent didn’t teach them about sexual harassment. Gay students are largely ignored in the sex education materials and sex is almost exclusively discussed as being between males and females. The most commonly used textbook preaches abstinence-only methods for students and another common textbook acknowledges only “traditional” marriage of a man and woman.
In Schenectady, the materials teach students that same-sex attraction is a reason to seek counseling. In Albany, material stated a young lady was certain she had contracted HIV because she had sex with a man who had previously engaged in homosexual activity.
The report also found that students are largely grouped by simplistic gender stereotypes.
In Shenendehowa, for instance, an article included in the materials states: “Girls are thinking about nesting, looking for long term relationships. But boys are looking for mating, physical release, and then going on to something else.”
”A large proportion of the other advanced democracies in the world combine a commitment to free speech with rules prohibiting hate speech. Isn’t it worth considering how they do this? And why? No one is burning the constitution here. We’re just trying to think about it.”
From this NYT piece by Jeremy Waldron. Here is an excerpt:
Democracies like Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Canada and New Zealand all prohibit hate speech of various kinds. They do so for what they think are good reasons. It is worth thinking about those reasons. Are they good reasons that (from an American First Amendment perspective) are just not strong enough to stand up against our overwhelmingly powerful commitment to free speech? Or are they simply bad reasons?
I think some of the things people cite in favor of hate speech regulation are bad reasons — like trying to protect people from being offended and annoyed. I agree with Stanley Fish about that. But some of the reasons are about dignity, not offense — I spend a lot of time in the book thinking aloud about that distinction — and these reasons are worth taking seriously, even if ultimately we think they are trumped by the value of free speech.
In the first week of classes at American University, anthropology professor Adrienne Pine brought her sick child to class.
I sped through the lecture and syllabus review with Lee, dressed in her comfiest blue onesie, alternately strapped to my back and crawling on the floor by my feet. The flow of my lecture was interrupted once by “Professor, your son has a paper-clip in his mouth” (I promptly extracted it without correcting my students’ gendered assumptions) and again when she crawled a little too close to an electrical outlet. Although I specifically instructed my teaching assistant, Laura, that helping me with my child was outside her job description, she insisted on holding and rocking Lee, allowing me to finish class without any major disruptions. When Lee grew restless, I briefly fed her without stopping lecture, and much to my relief, she fell asleep.
When the student newspaper wanted to write about the event, Professor Pine objected to the characterization of breastfeeding her child in class as “newsworthy.” FWIW, the course was an introductory course on “Sex, Gender, Culture” with 40 students. Professor Pine pre-empted any student story by writing about the event on CounterPunch, here.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the American University has issued a statement that Professor Pine’s bringing the child to class was inappropriate:
The university says that in cases like this, a faculty member should not bring a child to class. “The faculty manual requires professional conduct in the classroom at all times, including a focus on high standards for teaching and respect for students,” said the administration’s statement, which a spokeswoman said was based on a range of policies already in place at the university. “For the sake of the child and the public health of the campus community, when faced with the challenge of caring for a sick child in the case where backup childcare is not available, a faculty member should take earned leave and arrange for someone else to cover the class, not bring a sick child into the classroom.”
Read that full story here.
The AU statement frames the issue as a one of public health. Sick child = distracted parent = poor instruction. Generally speaking, the broad contours of that reasoning make sense to me. But if the child were, say, 12, and simply had an upset stomach and sat in the back of the class watching a video with headphones, would that be against AU’s policy? And, more to Professor Pine’s point, if Professor Pine hadn’t breastfed her child in class, would this have been news at all?
H/T Maureen Crawford Hentz
image: Mother Breast-feeding her Baby, by Louis Fleckenstein, c. 1900.
Today is the anniversary of Steve Biko’s brutal death in 1977 at the hands of the apartheid government of South Africa. Anti-apartheid activist and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko was one of the most inspiring and effective young activists of the last century. So inspiring and effective that the South African government decided he had to be eliminated. But as the article linked below shows, his influence has lived on.
A recent conversation with a former student has prompted me to share once again an essay in the Ottawa Citizen that I shared some years ago on FeministLawProfs. The author of the essay wrote:
It amazes me that a man I never met, who lived a vastly different life half a world away, influenced my life as much as he did — and in ways that Biko himself never would have expected.
For one thing, he helped turn me into a feminist.
Full essay here.
Information about Biko, including footage of a rare film interview, here. Click “media library” near the top for audio of additional interviews.
Cross-posted on IntLawGrrls
An Idaho law against using medication to induce abortion was deemed “likely unconstitutional” but remains in effect per the HuffPo. A more detailed if somewhat confusing account of developments is available here. Updates to follow.
ABA Journal story here, which reports:
The Senate’s confirmation Monday of Stephanie Rose as a federal judge in the Southern District of Iowa gave President Obama a record.
Obama has now appointed 72 women to the federal courts, a record for a single term, the Huffington Post reports. Former President Clinton appointed only 61 female judges his first term, though his total over eight years—111 female judges—is a record.
Thirty-one percent of active federal appeals judges are women, and about 30 percent of active federal district judges are women, according to statistics released last month.
Obama has a strong record for judicial diversity. The story cites an Associated Press report last year that found Obama is the first president who hasn’t nominated mostly white males to the federal bench. …
From here. The link and plug are completely gratuitous, posted because the image is amusing. This blog remains resolutely noncommercial.
Via this Buzzfeed page, which notes:
The ad, commissioned by the Scottish Government, stars actress Elaine C. Smith, who lost her own mother to breast cancer.
It features images of breasts exhibiting some of the early stages of the disease.The images were created using a mixture of real breasts and retouching in order to depict accurate portrayals of possible signs of the disease.
The agency worked with the chief health officer of Scotland and cancer specialists to ensure their accuracy. The project was spurred by research showing that many women do not regularly check their breasts and wanted to know what to look out for when they did.
The Pace Law Community Practice (PCLP) is one of the first legal services office of its kind in the country. It is a legal residency program that hires Pace Law graduates as Fellows who represent low and moderate income community members on a sliding scale basis under the close supervision of experienced attorneys. The PCLP has been launched with seed funds raised in honor of Congressman Dick Ottinger, Pace Law’s Dean Emeritus and a public service icon. Initially, the PCLP is representing young immigrant “Dreamers” eligible for Deferred Action, and will continue to provide immigration and other civil legal services to the vastly underrepresented communities of New York’s Hudson Valley. More information about the PCLP, including bios of our Fellows, can be found on the Pace Law School website here and on at the PCLP Facebook page.
In the WaPo. Here’s an excerpt:
The throwing gap has been researched for more than half a century, and the results have been consistent. According to Jerry Thomas, dean of the College of Education at the University of North Texas in Denton, who did the throwing research Hyde cites in her paper, “The overhand throwing gap, beginning at 4 years of age, is three times the difference of any other motor task, and it just gets bigger across age. By 18, there’s hardly any overlap in the distribution: Nearly every boy by age 15 throws better than the best girl.”
Around the world, at all ages, boys throw better — a lot better — than girls. Studies of overhand ball throwing across different cultures have found that pre-pubescent girls throw 51 to 69 percent of the distance that boys do, at 51 to 78 percent of the velocity. As they get older, the differences increase; one U.S. study found that girls age 14 to 18 threw only 39 percent as far as boys (an average of about 75 feet vs. about 192 feet). The question is why.
Since boys generally learn to throw young and do more throwing than girls do, it would make sense that they’re better at it, and Thomas acknowledges the nurture component. “The gap is much larger than it should be, and it would be smaller if girls got more practice,” he says.
To try to distinguish nature from nurture, Thomas studied aboriginal Australian children, who grow up in a culture where both men and women hunt, and both sexes throw from childhood. “Our hypothesis was that [the aboriginal] girls would be better throwers and not as different from the boys as in European, Chinese, Australian and all the U.S. cultures.”
The data bore him out. Aboriginal girls threw tennis balls at 78.3 percent of the velocity of boys — closer to boys than in most other cultures, but still significantly slower. (Throwing distance wasn’t measured.)
In July, I reported that Republican House leadership is blocking reauthorization of a strengthened Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). No one needs this bill passed more desperately than Native women: one in three will be raped in their lifetimes; two in five are victims of domestic violence; six in ten will be physically assaulted; and on some reservations, the murder rate of Native women is ten times the national average.
The Senate version of VAWA includes new protections for Native women by allowing tribal court systems to prosecute domestic violence abusers—whether the abuser is native or not. Currently, most sexual assaults and domestic violence crimes on Native lands go unpunished, particularly by non-Native abusers.
The Indian Law Resource Center has released a new short video to educate people on the issue and urge lawmakers to take action now. Check it out below, and take action here. Congress needs to know that even during election season, people still care about this issue and are paying attention.